Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has released the following statement regarding the BC Coroners Service’s report on illicit drug toxicity deaths for May 2021:
“Deepest condolences go to all those who lost someone to the poisoned drug supply in May – and at any time. Thousands of people are grief stricken from losing someone they love to overdose. On days like these, our collective sorrow swells for all those who are missing someone.
“With more than five people dying each day in British Columbia due to poisoned, unpredictable drugs, it’s especially important to understand that toxic drugs are circulating, and people should take every precaution when they use. More people are dying from smoking and/or inhaling drugs than from injecting them.
“Many are eager to socialize as COVID-19 restrictions lift, and people must be aware illicit drugs are more toxic and unpredictable than ever before. The drugs you might use today are not the same as they were one or two years ago.
“People who use drugs recreationally and regularly are all at high risk. If you plan to use – whether at home, at a party or event, know how to stay safer – this can mean the difference between life and death.
“Do not use alone – buddy up, and download the free Lifeguard app. This app has saved lives before, and it could save yours next.
“Carry naloxone with you and know how to use it. Call 911 if you or someone else needs help. First responders are here to help, not judge.
“Visit a supervised consumption site or an overdose prevention site for free drug checking and other harm reduction services. You can find one near you online: StopOverdoseBC.ca
“As British Columbians gear up for a social, rejuvenating summer after much sacrifice and restraint, please have these conversations with your family and friends. The more we talk openly about drug use, the more lives we can save.
“Our government will continue expanding life-saving resources across the continuum of care, from prescribed safer supply to more treatment beds. Going forward, we are deepening our investment in people and innovative solutions to turn this crisis around.”