Five year anniversary of declaration of the overdose crisis marked by record number of deaths

For immediate release


April 14th, 2021


VICTORIA, B.C. – B.C. marks a somber fifth year since the public health emergency was declared in response to rising death rates related to illicit drugs. Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Cowichan Valley has issued the following statement:


“In the last five years we have tragically lost over 7,000 beloved British Columbians to drug overdoses and poisonings. Many, many families and friends have been grieving the loss of their loved ones and the best way we can acknowledge the pain, suffering, and the people left behind is to do a better job at preventing future deaths.


“This anniversary occurs in a time where a record number of people are dying from a poisonous drug supply. We understand that those who we have lost have died from bad drug policy, not just bad drugs.


“The B.C. Green Caucus will continue to advocate for compassionate, evidence-based policies that treat those who use drugs as people and their addictions as part of the systemic issues of stigmatization, insufficient mental health supports, inequality, lack of housing, and insufficient wraparound services. We will continue to hold government to their promise to decriminalize simple possession and to expand safe, regulated supply. Government needs to urgently invest in treatment and non-stigmatized support for people who use drugs.


“We are five years overdue for a significant change in policy that treats addictions as a health care issue, not a criminal one. The COVID-19 pandemic has quietly worsened this crisis, and we cannot afford to lose any more ground in the fight for non-stigmatized, accessible, and long-term support for people who use drugs.”


-30-

Media contact

JoJo Beattie

Press Secretary

B.C. Green Caucus

+1 250-882-6187 | jojo.beattie@leg.bc.ca