Nearly one person in Vancouver died from a fatal drug overdose every day in 2018, according to a new report from the BC Coroners Service.
According to the report, 382 people died from an overdose in Vancouver last year, compared with 376 people in 2017.
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“The unrelenting overdose crisis continues to take mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, friends and loved ones away from people all across Vancouver – and the data shows that the majority of people we’ve lost are inside, and alone,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart, in a release.
“By continuing to invest in proven life-saving efforts – such as supervised injection sites, projects addressing stigma, and a clean drug supply – we sincerely hope that we can begin to turn the tide on the public health emergency which continues to grip our city”
Since 2017, the City of Vancouver has been allocating approximately $3.5 million in annual funding to manage the crisis.
The results from the Mayor’s Overdose Emergency Task Force were revealed and council approved $500,000 worth of funding for the following seven themes:
- Investments in Indigenous healing and wellness
- Supporting peer first responders to save lives
- Expanding harm reduction in the Downtown Eastside
- Supporting a safer supply of drugs
- Expanding access to treatment supports
- Outside the Downtown Eastside: Harm reduction, treatment, and supports
- Collective action with partners for systemic changes
In total, there were 1,489 suspected drug overdose deaths in the province in 2018, which averages to four deaths per day.
The three townships with the highest number of illicit drug overdoses in 2018 were Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria.