Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has released the following statement on the BC Coroners Service’s monthly illicit drug toxicity deaths report for June 2020:
“In June, 175 British Columbians lost their lives because of an illegal drug supply that is more toxic than ever. They were people who were loved, made a difference in someone else’s life and deserved every chance to live and thrive.
“Prior to COVID-19, we were headed in the right direction, with overdose deaths decreased 36% year-over-year – the first time overdose deaths had gone down since 2012. There was so much more to do to save more lives, but our plan and our collective efforts were making a difference. Now because of COVID-19, the drug supply has become more toxic than ever before – with tragic consequences.
“We’re redoubling our efforts to save more lives and connect more people to treatment and recovery. We’re opening new treatment beds, expanding our efforts to separate people from the toxic drug supply, launching new teams to help people stay connected to treatment and working in closer partnership with First Nations to support culturally safe Indigenous-led solutions.
“The weight of two public health emergencies in this province is taking an enormous toll on everyone. Many are struggling financially and enduring months of loneliness and isolation. People are missing the connections that mean so much to them.
“I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude to the thousands of dedicated people working day and night on the front lines of the overdose crisis. They are giving their hearts and souls to help others and weathering a storm that feels endless. You are true heroes in this fight.
“Now, more than ever, people who use substances need our support, not judgment. British Columbians showed the world what we could do by coming together around COVID-19. Let’s demonstrate that same commitment and kindness when it comes to battling B.C.’s other public health crisis.”