Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has released the following statement regarding the BC Coroners Service’s report on illicit drug toxicity deaths for April 2021:

“Month over month, people in British Columbia continue to lose their lives to the poisoned drug supply in record numbers.

“The BC Coroners Service’s report for April shows the situation is not getting any better. This is devastating for so many people grieving the loss of their loved ones. There are feelings of fear reverberating in communities throughout the province, particularly among families and those working on the front lines of this crisis.

“As minister of mental health and addictions, I share these feelings of sorrow. It is hard to fathom that despite the incredible efforts of front-line workers, health and community organizations, and all those working tirelessly to save lives, we continue losing friends and family to toxic street drugs. It is unacceptable.

“When the overdose crisis collided with the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the progress we were making was lost. Now, as we see our province turning the corner on COVID-19, it hurts even more to see overdose fatalities continue to mount.

“Over the past year, as we have witnessed governments, communities, organizations and people across all sectors at every level of society come together to defeat COVID-19, so has there been unprecedented and heartfelt work to turn the tide on the overdose emergency. I’m grateful to everyone on the front lines of this public health crisis for their extraordinary efforts, without which we would have lost many more lives.

“Because substance use affects everyone – our families, friends, co-workers, classmates and neighbours – every British Columbian can be part of the solution by talking about addiction and ending the stigma.

“Our government will continue expanding life-saving resources across the continuum of care, from safer supply to more treatment beds. Going forward, we are deepening our investment in people and all-hands-on-deck interventions.”

RELATED | B.C. Coroners Service stats show that province is on track for another record-breaking year of illicit-drug overdose deaths, The Straight, June 2, 2021

Image: B.C Emergency Health Service says its overdose call volume reached a five-year monthly high in May (BCEHS)