Furstenau: Illicit drug poisonings continue to rise; urgent need for action

For immediate release


December 9, 2021


VICTORIA, B.C. – The latest BC Coroner Services report reveals more than six people died each day from suspected illicit drug poisonings during the month of October, 2021. Sonia Furstenau, leader of the BC Green Party and MLA for Cowichan Valley has issued the following statement:

“It’s time that the response of the BC NDP government matches the seriousness of this emergency. It’s clear that the government is not doing enough to stop this ongoing and relentless tragedy.


“The BC Greens have called multiple times this year for an emergency all-party committee to address B.C.’s illicit drug toxicity crisis. The BC Liberals have called for the same. The political will is lacking only from this government, and it is costing lives. Yet again we are not seeing the BC NDP treat this crisis like the emergency it is.


“We have also called for an immediate expansion of regulated safe supply of drugs in B.C. As indicated in the BC Coroner’s report, no deaths are linked to the safe supply that is available to people today. It needs to be recognized that this crisis requires a combination of harm reduction and access to a wide spectrum of treatment options, particularly Indigenous-run programs.


“We also need to see accessible mental health care for people in B.C. Too many people are unable to get mental health care when they need it, and this is exacerbating the toll of the toxic drug supply.


“This is a public health emergency. Like we did under the minority government when COVID-19 first emerged, this toxic drug crisis demands an all-party approach instead of closed doors and slow actions. It is disappointing that this government would not choose to work with other parties. Together, we could share the burden of this responsibility, collaborate on solutions, and to take urgent collective action.”


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Media contact

JoJo Beattie

Press Secretary

B.C. Green Caucus

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