Monday August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day.
Long before the Covid-19 pandemic British Columbia was dealing with another public health emergency - overdoses and poisonings from toxic illicit street drugs.
Since 2016 more than 5500 British Columbians - our friends, family and neighbours - have tragically passed away.
Covid-19 has caused increased isolation and limited access to healthcare. One of the results of the Canada-US border closure is the disruption to the flow of street drugs and the supply in Canada has become more toxic. For three straight months more than 170 British Columbians have died as a result of overdose. It is clear the provincial government needs to do more.
The B.C. Green Caucus will continue to advocate for solutions to this health crisis. We are committed to pushing for treatment programs, mental health supports, decriminalization, affordable housing and income supports in conjunction with safe supply to prevent any further loss of life in this crisis.
Mom’s Stop the Harm is an advocacy group that has been working to raise awareness and to destigmatize mental health and addictions. According to co-founder Leslie McBain in a recent Saanich News article, they want the provincial government to treat people with addictions like they have a health condition.
On Monday, let’s pause to remember those we have lost. Let’s hold their family members in our thoughts and prayers to give them strength.
This year you can join Mom’s Stop the Harm on Facebook for their annual candlelight vigil. They will be broadcasting live from the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific at 7pm.
Dr. Bonnie Henry has reminded us throughout the past few months to be kind, calm and safe. Let’s also be compassionate.
It is easy to pass judgement on those who struggle with addictions, however let’s not forget that they are our friends, family and neighbours and they deserve the help they need without judgement or stigma just as it is provided to someone with heart disease or cancer.
Adam Olsen ... is the interim leader of the BC Green Party, and the MLA for Saanich North and the Islands