Despite making some improvements in how we are dealing with the opioid epidemic in B.C., Vancouver Island Health’s top doctor says the future is still dim.
Dr. Richard Stanwick says though interventions, like wide-spread access to naloxone kits and more safe places for people to use injection drugs, are helping – the loss of life continues.
“The indications we’re getting is that while December will be a better month than November, we’ll still see a record number of individuals dying both on the Island and in British Columbia.”
Stanwick says that even a stabilization in number of deaths is too many.
“I don’t want to say we are stabilizing because certainly seeing the number of deaths that are occurring is certainly not a rate that anyone wants to see [as] the norm.”
But, he says, what’s needed long-term is for addiction to be treated like the chronic, recurring disease that it is.
At the end of November 128 people died from overdoses, and over the year an average of more than two people each day.
The BC Coroners Service is expected to release the latest overdose death numbers next week.