For immediate release
March 9, 2022
VICTORIA, B.C. – Today, the BC Coroners Service reported the recommendations of the Death Review Panel on illicit drug toxicity. Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley, has issued the following statement:
“From August of 2017 to July of 2021, over 6,000 people died from our toxic illicit drug market. These were preventable deaths. This crisis intersects with our mental health crisis, our housing crisis, and our affordability crisis. The supply of street drugs is getting deadlier, it is killing younger people, and it’s hitting everyone – those with substance use disorder, and those who use drugs recreationally.
“The Death Review Panel declared safe supply as the first priority for people who use drugs. Anyone who is paying attention to people who use drugs – researchers, advocates, and experts – knows this is the way to stabilise the chaotic and deadly illicit drug supply. Month after month, and year after year, the call is the same. It is heartbreaking to watch the consistent message of non-medicalized safe supply be ignored by this government, while the death rate climbs.
“This government talks of stigma as a barrier, but we have safe supply in B.C. Alcohol is regulated. Tylenol is regulated. Marijuana is regulated. It is a matter of political will to introduce non-medicalized safe supply, and we have to start wondering who in this government is resisting this necessary harm reduction approach to an increasingly deadly crisis.
“The Death Review Panel called on the BC NDP government to implement a safer drug supply by May 9th. I will be following this government’s actions closely and holding them to that timeline.”
B.C. Green Caucus
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