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‘NDP government continues to fail’: Surrey MLA calls for action to toxic drug crisis

Trevor Halford says the toxic drug overdose crisis needs immediate government action
People hold banners during a march to remember those who died during the overdose crisis on International Overdose Awareness Day in Vancouver on August 31, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck photo)

Surrey/White Rock’s MLA says that B.C.’s government is failing its citizens when it comes to the number of individuals dying from drug overdoses each month in the province.

BC Coroners Service’s latest report highlights that deaths from drug overdose is decreasing this year, with January seeing the highest number of drug-related deaths at 210. Still, 161 people fatally overdosed in April.

READ MORE: B.C. sees 161 people die to toxic drug crisis in April, amid calls for safer supply

An action plan to save lives from the toxic drug market is outlined in the Coroners’ report, yet “there continues to be little action and urgency from John Horgan and the NDP government as they disregard the life-saving goals and timelines laid out in this report,” Trevor Halford, MLA for Surrey-White Rock and official opposition critic for mental health and addictions, said in a news release Thursday (June 9).

While the number of men in the province experiencing fatal overdose is decreasing slightly over time, the number of older adults dying is rising.

“Every day that goes by without the urgency this crisis deserves from the NDP is a day wasted. People in our province deserve a coherent, province-wide strategy so when someone reaches out for help, they can immediately get the help they need,” Halford said.

Until safe, regulated drug supply is available, people should be taking drugs with a trusted individual who can assist them if they overdose, B.C.’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a news release on Thursday (June 9).

Health Canada announced on May 31 that a personal possession limit of 2.5 cumulative grams would be decriminalized starting next year.

Advocates, including Lapointe say this number is too low for those who are most at-risk of overdosing.

“It’s time for the NDP government to get its priorities straight and take action to stop the tragic loss of life,” Halford said.

– with files from

Jane Skrypnek

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