Chief public health officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam (Government of Canada)

opioid crisis

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

For the first time in decades, B.C.’s life expectancy may be dropping, largely because of the staggering number of deaths from opioid crisis.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in her annual report Tuesday that while Canada ranks among the healthiest high-income countries in the world, concerning trends are emerging from the 8,000 deaths across it in the past two years.

B.C. is home to the highest number of people dying of illicit drug overdoses over the last eight years, making up nearly three-quarters of the 2,000 deaths nationwide in 2017.

Tam said this crisis is contributing to the average life expectancy in B.C. sliding by roughly 43 days.

READ MORE: New in-depth report sheds light on who in B.C. is dying of drug overdoses

READ MORE: B.C. doctors told not to limit opioids or refuse care of chronic pain patients

The dip was more pronounced in men and in poorer neighbourhoods – similar to findings from the BC Coroners Service.

“We have to think about how to reverse these trends for future generations,” Tam said in a video online. “This is a key moment in Canada to examine how we address substance use across all areas of potential action: Prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery.

“My aim with this report is to draw attention to the central role of prevention.”

The report, which also focused on problematic substance use in youth, found that marketing, advertising and availability of a substance directly increases its use among youth – whether it be for a coping mechanism or trauma or other reasons.

READ MORE: B.C. guidelines focus on mother and baby fighting opioid addiction

Other implications to Canada’s overall health status include smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, and harmful use of alcohol, which all increase the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurological disorders, and diabetes.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

City of Surrey to remove eight dead trees along stretch of road where SUV was hit

Assessment confirms tree that fell was dead; others to be removed ‘early this week’

New Surrey Police force ‘swallowing up’ city’s funds, Annis says

City councillor says draft city budget shows new force coming at expense of ‘everything else’ in the city

Guitar ‘swap & sale’ planned at Cloverdale’s Shannon Hall

40-plus vendors are signed up for event on Saturday, Nov. 23

Panthers storm to playoff victory over Hyacks

Cloverdale’s Lord Tweedsmuir stuns New West in big win in B.C. high school football AAA playoff semifinals

CCTV cameras help Surrey RCMP arrest two bank robbery suspects

The robberies were in North Surrey on Nov. 7 and Oct. 1

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Duncan man gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty trial

Joe also gets lifetime ban on owning animals

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

Most Read