Pubdate: Thu, 26 Oct 2017
Source: Comox Valley Record (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Comox Valley Record


As little as five years ago, we imagine most people would have scoffed
at the idea of needing a special group to pick up discarded needles in
the community.

Though the Comox Valley is not as badly affected as others, which are
in the middle of a needle epidemic directly related to the opioid
crisis that has killed so many across B.C. in the last several years,
it isn't immune, either.

The provincial statistics for 2017 to date are horrifying. This
province has never faced a drug threat like that of fentanyl.

This month the B.C. Coroners Service released figures that show that
through the first eight months of 2017 we've already surpassed the
total number of deaths caused by drug overdoses from the entire year
of 2016 in this province. And don't forget, 2016 was a record bad year.

The suspected number of illicit drug overdose deaths to date is 1,013,
up from 2016's already shocking total of 547.

In August alone there were 113 deaths - a 79 per cent increase from
August of 2016.

And officials say 80 per cent of those were due, at least in part, to
fentanyl (drugs are usually a mixed cocktail of fentanyl, cocaine,
heroin or methamphetamines).

"It's heartbreaking to see the continued high numbers of deaths
throughout the province despite the numerous initiatives and
harm-reduction measures in place. This highlights the complexities of
drug dependency and illicit drug use, and the importance of a
co-ordinated, health-focused approach to this medical issue," said
chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. "We also need people to know that no
illicit substance in this province can be considered safe, whether you
know your dealer or not. Anyone using an illicit substance must be
prepared for an adverse effect and must have someone else present who
is willing and able to help."
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