VICTORIA, B.C - In response to the BC Coroners Service’s report released today on unregulated drug deaths and youth drug toxicity deaths in British Columbia, Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley, has issued the following statement:
"It is truly staggering that unregulated drug toxicity, as revealed in the Coroner's report, surpasses all other causes of death among individuals aged 10 to 59 in British Columbia. These drug-related fatalities far outnumber the combined deaths resulting from homicides, suicides, accidents, and natural diseases.
“The BC NDP have failed to address this crisis with the urgency that is required. This government needs to explain how they are reaching the people who are dying alone in their homes from the toxic drug supply.
“Meanwhile, BC United is politicizing this emergency, pointing fingers at people most at risk from the toxic drug supply, fueling fear and offering only limited solutions that will not reduce the death toll we are seeing.
“Many of the conditions we are seeing right now can be traced back to the cuts that were made in the early 2000s by the BC Liberals, when social programs and social supports were removed. We are now downstream from those decisions and seeing the outcomes. The lack of access to community mental health care for youth, and the lack of psychologists and counselors in schools, means that young people in B.C. do not have the supports they need when they need them the most.
“The BC NDP offers little more than words, while actually scaling back access to safe supply and shutting down Seymour Health Centre, which serves a huge number of people in some of the most marginalized parts of Vancouver.
“We need evidence-based solutions, not political narratives, to address this tragedy. Safe supply, safe consumption sites, and accessible mental health care and addictions treatment are crucial.
“The need for more safe consumption sites, providing trauma-informed supports and connections, is evident as people turn to public places for drug use. Strong political will is necessary to make this happen.
“Additionally, this report demonstrates the harm inflicted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. 73% of the youth who died were in receipt of current or previous services through MCFD. Earlier this year we learned that nearly 470 children in MCFD care are reported missing monthly, and 40% of these children are Indigenous girls.
“The government needs to take a serious look at the ways in which MCFD practices are failing to serve the needs of children and families.”
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | [email protected]