HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html No Easy Answers For Drug Crisis
Pubdate: Wed, 07 Feb 2018
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 Abbotsford News


There was some good news out of the report the B.C. Coroners Service
released Jan. 31, that overdose deaths declined in the last quarter of
2017 compared to 2016.

There were 99 deaths last December, compared to 164 the previous year.
But that's about all the good news. Overall, 2017 was the deadliest
year for overdose deaths B.C. has ever seen, with 1,422 deaths
compared to 914 in 2016.

In the majority of those deaths - 81 per cent - the synthetic opioid
fentanyl played a part. That's an increase over 2016 again, when the
figure was estimated at 67 per cent. That many deaths makes you
question just how much fentanyl is in circulation, and how many other
overdoses there were that didn't result in death, thanks to naloxone
or other lifesaving measures.

Overdose deaths have been on the rise since 2008, when there were
fewer than 200 deaths. Over the last three years - 2015, 2016 and 2017
- - the numbers have climbed dramatically. The downward trend towards
the end of last year is positive, even indicative, that current
measures are working.

But it's way too early for governments and non-government
organizations to relax. The impact of this crisis is overwhelming and
spreads throughout society thanks to years of over-prescribing
painkillers, creating addicts in neighbourhoods from the poorest to
the richest.

The Coroners Service is quick to point out that no deaths occurred at
any supervised consumption site or at any of the drug overdose
prevention sites. And while that is significant, it's not the answer.

Making naloxone kits available is really only a stopgap measure. Any
lasting solution to stopping this waste of human life is going to have
to take place earlier, and it is going to require a massive
co-ordinated effort: reduce the amount of drugs on the street, prevent
people from falling into drug abuse in the first place and,
especially, make addiction treatment easier to access than the drugs.
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