Province to work with Feds on Opioid Overdose Crisis
Prince George, B.C. – This is Addiction Awareness Week and the Province of B.C. is hoping to get the Federal Government on board in the battle against drug overdoses.
Later this week, here will be a federal summit on opioid overdoses, and B.C.’s Minister of Health Terry Lake will be there “”We recognize a strong partnership with the federal government is essential to ending the crisis.”
Since January of this year, 555 people in B.C. have died as a result of illicit drug overdoses. That’s a 61% increase in the number of overdoses during the same period a year ago. The overdose crisis in B.C. is ” one of the most severe and tragic public health emergencies of our time” says Minister Lake.
As part of the Provincial strategy to reduce deaths from opioid overdoses, RCMP and firefighters have been armed with naloxone, a drug that can counteract an overdose, so that they can administer it when they are called to a scene involving an overdose.
Prince George RCMP Superintendent Warren Brown estimates there have been about 100 overdose calls in this City since October of 2015, and about a dozen of those cases were fatal.
The Province has also launched a public awareness campaign and is working on a cross-government strategy for mental health and substance use issues. “Fortunately, the most recent Coroners Service numbers show we
have been able to slow down the rate of increase in fatal drug overdoses – but the number is still far too high” says Lake, who says the Province will continue to work with the Federal Government in an effort to move forward on measures that fall under Federal jurisdiction.