Furstenau: Lack of leadership is worsening the toxic drug emergency

January 25, 2024

VICTORIA, B.C. - Today, BC Coroners Service reported that 2,511 lives were lost to toxic, unregulated drugs in 2023. Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the BC Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley has issued the following statement: 

“Too many British Columbians are exhausted from losing the people they love. While politicians are choosing to dehumanize the people who are suffering and dying. What’s needed from the premier and the BC NDP is the courage to be guided by experts' data and evidence. 

“People in B.C. should be able to count on their government to respond to a health emergency not from a place of political calculus but from a place of decision making informed by health experts.

“The BC NDP have failed to plan and respond appropriately to this health emergency, and have created the political conditions that the right wing parties are choosing to take advantage of. Two years ago this legislature came together in commitment to prevent unnecessary death in this province. The lack of leadership from the BC NDP is in large part resulting in the growing politicization of this issue.

“This government is failing to deliver the solutions to a growing social and economic crisis in this province. Delays and inefficiencies in addressing a lack of mental health care, lack of primary care and lack of affordable housing are contributing to the worsening of this toxic drug crisis. Instead of blaming the people who are suffering and dying, we need leaders who will connect the dots between these issues and focus on immediately implementing the evidence-based solutions.

“80% of these deaths occurred indoors. Despite what Kevin Falcon says, this is clearly not about ‘getting people off the streets.’ We need serious investment in harm reduction services, such as drug checking, safe consumption sites, and needle/supply exchanges, which are essential in saving lives and getting the right kind of help that people need.

“People need access to mental health support, primary care, and social services. They need access to a safer supply. The unregulated and highly toxic drug supply is killing 7 people in B.C. every single day. If this were any other product, everybody would expect a response that matches the level of crisis. People who use drugs are people. They deserve a government that treats them as such.

“It is disheartening that the BC NDP is failing to use its majority and polling lead to save the lives of the most vulnerable British Columbians. This is not the mark of a progressive social democratic government.”




Media contact

JoJo Beattie

Press Secretary

B.C. Green Caucus

+1 250-882-6187 | [email protected]

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