VICTORIA, B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Greens spokesperson for Mental Health and Addictions, issued the following statement on International Overdose Awareness Day:
“Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, a day to remember and honour thousands of lives that have been lost or impacted by drug overdoses.
“British Columbia is in the midst of a public health crisis. Since January alone over 600 lives have been lost to the opioid crisis in our province, with devastating costs for British Columbian families, communities, and first responders. We cannot overlook the relationship between substance use and mental health challenges, and we must work to overcome the stigma associated with both.
“A growing body of evidence demonstrates that education, prevention, and early intervention initiatives such as supervised injection sites can help keep substance users safe. As provincial leaders we need to come together to advance these possible solutions. We must keep all options on the table to reduce harm and stigma, address the root causes of the crisis, and support people struggling with mental health and addiction.
“On behalf of my colleagues in the B.C. Green caucus I would like to offer our heartfelt support to all British Columbians who have been impacted by overdose. Although the tragedy continues to unfold we are encouraged by the courage, perseverance, and community of care that has emerged across the province. Our hearts are heavy but we are hopeful for a future in which all struggling British Columbians can access the supports they need to stay safe.”
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