Nanaimo Overdose Awareness Day berates politicians over rising death toll
“The comfortable consensus seems to be that our drug policies and addiction issues are just complicated issues that require millions of dollars and years of performative talk in order to get the care and programs that are really needed. And I say bullshit. Compassion is not complicated. The action could not and should not take years to materialize.
Similar comments were made earlier Tuesday by BC Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe and Moms Stop the Harm co-founder Leslie McBain when they announced 2021 was the deadliest first half of the year. the year since the onset of the crisis in 2016.
At the end of June 2021, just over 1,000 people were fatally overdosed in British Columbia
In Nanaimo, 20 lives were lost in the first six months of the year.
A new death was recorded in June in Nanaimo, the second month down from the peak reached in April when an overdose advisory was issued.
Eight overdoses in other parts of central Vancouver Island have been recorded by the BC Coroners Service.
Island Health as a whole experienced 22 fatal overdoses in June.
Griffin Russell, harm reduction coordinator at Island Health, told the crowd at Maffeo Sutton Park that there are about 35 to 50 non-fatal overdoses for every illicit drug-related death.
“Thinking of the losses here in Nanaimo, we have experienced at least 10,000 non-fatal drug poisonings since the onset of the crisis. I think about this energy in our communities and what it does, reverberating, impacting neighborhoods, communities of all kinds, families, friends. “
Families and friends of overdose victims in Nanaimo were among those present at the rally.
2021 is set to be the most devastating year for fatal overdoses in Nanaimo and the province since the toxic drug crisis was declared five years ago.
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On Twitter: @SpencerSterritt