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 skatepark moves closer to fruition

Company estimates project will cost $600,000

Heat warning issued for Vancouver Island

Temperatures expected to cool down later this week

Short trip to car-free Sidney Spit offers camping, beaches, hikes

Sidney Spit is part of B.C.’s Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, a protected marine ecosystem

Canadian military gains valuable disaster experience at RIMPAC

Naval, air force and army personnel practise war activities, humanitarian relief

Well-versed in national competition, trio heads to B.C. Summer Games

The three will be representing Zone 6 in boys field lacrosse

WATCH: Thousands rock in Colwood over the weekend

Rock the Shores returns after one-year hiatus

B.C. teen meets Nicolas Cage

Filming mob movie in downtown Vernon, B.C.

Critics claim Trump “defended a tyrant”

Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

B.C. MLAs choose new children’s watchdog

Jennifer Charlesworth has worked in government, social services

B.C. reporter calls out immigration photo on social media as fake news

A Vancouver reporter is calling out a British politician for spreading fake news

Hundreds of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

Out of 1,773 glaciers, 1,353 shrank significantly between 2000 and 2016

Indigenous housing providers worried Liberal proposals could put families on the streets

Indigenous housing providers raise alarms about future of federal funding deals

Black Press Media journalists win big at Canadian community newspaper awards

Newsrooms earn recognition for editorial and photography excellence

Riptide, CVUSC paved the way for varsity soccer players

Chloe Gummer has become a leader at VIU

Most Read