The provincial New Democrats say B.C.’s Liberal government is not treating the fentanyl overdosing crisis seriously enough despite it being declared a public health emergency five months ago.
In the first half of 2016, fentanyl-related deaths in Kelowna reached 20 which was the total amount of overdose related deaths in the year before.
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful opiate, 100 times stronger than morphine and 20 times stronger than heroin. Particularly unscrupulous drug dealers sometimes add it to their products to make them more addictive. It only takes a very small amount to kill, and is the source of multiple drug overdoses.
New Democrat public safety critic Mike Farnsworth called it a “public safety crisis that puts both casual and experienced drug users throughout the province at risk every day.
“Sons, daughters, fathers and mothers are dying every day from this drug crisis,” Farnsworth said, “and Christy Clark’s government is not taking it seriously enough.”
Farnsworth called on the government to license the ownership of tablet machines and pill presses, like the NDP government in Alberta has done.
“The families of the over 400 people who have already died this year expect nothing less,” he said.
Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell, the NDP’s critic on mental health and addictions issues, says people wrestling with drug addictions in this province aren’t getting the help they need.
“The time for one-off solutions delivered via photo ops has passed,” she said. “Premier Christy Clark is failing people who need mental health and addiction treatment and has failed to meet her election commitment for new addiction treatment spaces — a promise that was made long before this crisis hit.
“Vulnerable people can’t wait until she gets around to it. Further delays means more lives lost in this case.”