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Furstenau: Record-setting deaths from toxic drugs requires urgency

February 09, 2022

VICTORIA, B.C. – Today, the BC Coroners Service reported the total number of deaths in 2021 due to illicit drug toxicity. Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley, has issued the following statement: 

"2021 broke records for the number of people who have died due to the toxic drug supply. 2,224 people died from toxic drugs in B.C. last year - that is more per year than the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet there are no daily announcements on the impact of this public health emergency. 

“This government applauded itself yesterday for the work it has done to introduce safe supply and request federal decriminalization. But the truth is that this government’s measures have not reduced deaths - in fact, they are increasing. When concerned citizens take it upon themselves to hand out safe drugs on the streets of the Downtown Eastside, it is clear that this government is failing. 

“We are not doing nearly enough to reduce harm and meet people where they are at. We urgently need low-barrier safe supply that does not require a diagnosis, daily line-ups, or finding a sympathetic doctor. As we start this legislative session, we urgently need to convene an all-party committee to create immediate, stabilizing solutions to the toxic drug crisis. 

“This public health emergency is going into its sixth year. This is the second year in a row of record-setting deaths. This crisis is not limited to drug users - it is impacting emergency responders, our healthcare system, and our economy. We can’t afford to move incrementally.”

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Media contact
JoJo Beattie
Press Secretary
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | [email protected]

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