You probably know that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused BC to declare a public health emergency. But, did you know there’s another provincial public health emergency taking place right now? That emergency is the opioid overdose emergency.
Overdose: the other public health emergency
In 2016, a provincial public health emergency was declared because of a significant increase in drug-related overdoses and deaths. Four years later and the emergency has not ended. In fact, there has been an increase in overdose deaths throughout the province lately — sadly, including in the North.
Right now the illegal drug supply is more toxic than ever and unpredictable. We’ve seen this in our Northern region with Benzodiazepines or “Benzos” contaminating street drugs.
So, what can we do about this? Like COVID-19, we all have a part to play to stop overdose. Here’s what you can do.
As overdose deaths increase, it’s important to stay safer if you or someone you know uses drugs. Know how to prevent an overdose.
Know the signs of overdose and what to do. Carry a take home Naloxone kit and be familiar with how to use it.
People who use drugs are people. They’re members of our community and are someone’s loved one, parent, mother, brother, friend, co-worker. Use non-stigmatizing language. Stopping stigma saves lives.
August 31 is a day to remember those who have lost their lives to overdose. If you’d like to post a tribute to a loved one who has passed away from an overdose, visit: International Overdose Awareness Day.
Saving lives takes a village and we all have a role to play in stopping overdose deaths.