Back to home

An overdose emergency – four years later

An overdose emergency – four years later

More than four years ago B.C. declared a public health emergency in the face of unprecedented overdose deaths.

Since that time, more than 789 lives have been lost within the Interior Health community.

Important progress has been made and the evidence is promising. Research from the BC Centre for Disease Control shows that harm reduction efforts are saving lives.

“While the number of overdose deaths declined from 2018 to 2019, there are still countless families reeling from the unfathomable grief of losing a loved one. Now, we are facing a global pandemic on top of a fentanyl-poisoning crisis.”

— Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Some of the ways we’ve been working to reduce overdose deaths in our communities are:

  • Introducing overdose prevention services and mobile supervised consumption services
  • Improving our ability to track overdoses
  • Participating in the B.C. Take Home Naloxone program
  • Enhancing access to opioid agonist treatments
  • Expanding mental health and substance use services, such as increased outreach and follow-up efforts

Last year the Burning Bright candle display commemorated the anniversary of the overdose crisis and marked the number of lives lost to overdose.

“In this unprecedented time of two public health emergencies, we must work together to both flatten the curve and stop overdose deaths. We cannot afford to stop caring about one health-care crisis as we stare down another.

— Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Interested in learning more? Read the Minister’s statement about the ongoing overdose crisis and the challenges of having two health emergencies.