EDITORIAL: No easy answers for drug crisis

Opioid crisis will be with us for a long time

There was some good news out of the report the B.C. Coroners Service released last week, that overdose deaths declined in the last quarter of 2017 compared to 2016.

There were 99 deaths last December, compared to 164 the previous year. But that’s about all the good news. Overall, 2017 was the deadliest year for overdose deaths B.C. has ever seen, with 1,422 deaths compared to 914 in 2016.

In the majority of those deaths – 81 per cent – the synthetic opioid fentanyl played a part. That’s an increase over 2016 again, when the figure was estimated at 67 per cent.

That many deaths makes you question just how much fentanyl is being used and how many other overdoses there were that didn’t result in death, via the timely application of naloxone or other lifesaving measures.

The downward trend towards the end of last year is positive, even indicative that current measures are working. But it’s way too early for governments and non-government organizations to relax.

The size of this crisis is overwhelming, and spreads throughout society thanks to years of overprescribing painkillers creating addicts in neighbourhoods from the poorest to the richest. Victoria is one of 18 B.C. communities which will receive funding for community action teams to address the ongoing epidemic. That is a step in the right direction.

Making naloxone kits available is really only a stopgap measure to prevent overdose deaths; it’s dealing with the problem once it’s already reached crisis stage.

Any lasting solution to stopping this waste of human life is going to have to take place earlier, and it is going to require a massive co-ordinated effort: reduce the amount of drugs on the street, prevent people from falling into drug abuse in the first place and especially, make addiction treatment easier to access than the drugs.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP investigating after parking lot carjacking in Langford

Man was thrown from his vehicle near Millstream Road McDonald’s Monday night

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

WATCH: Booze, weed both have fatal consequences

Video shows how easily impairment affects driving

Mackenzie Interchange pump failure sends contaminated water into Colquitz River

Sediment release in salmon-bearing river a serious threat to aquatic life, says local activist

Uvic to launch app to link drug users with Naloxone kits

Researchers have spent the last year developing the Nal-Pal app

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

Bear cubs try to take Vancouver Island woman’s Christmas cookies

Incident happened in the early-morning hours today, Dec. 18, in Nanaimo

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Most Read