BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau is pushing the NDP government to work together with advocacy groups for improved access to substances like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine to reduce the number of deaths in the province.
According to a BC Coroners Service report there are an average of six to seven deaths in the province per day that are linked to overdoses because of users obtaining narcotics through illicit supply chains.
Furstenau, who was in Nelson over the weekend, is advocating for local groups such as the Kootenay Insurrection for Safe Supply who help users obtain a safe supply of narcotics to prevent overdoses and deaths.
“It is very consistent with what we are hearing, and what is happening,” says Furstenau. “If we want to prevent the deaths from happening from a very toxic and illicit supply then there has to be a safe supply.”
According to the Kootenay Insurrection for Safe Supply, the government is focusing on forcing users into involuntary care to force removal of the drugs from the equation.
“People will not access health care if they think that they are being forced into care,” Furstenau says. “There is a real risk of people coming out of forced care and relapsing on illicit supply then dying.”
The wait for anyone accessing detox facilities in the province is currently five weeks or more, which could translate into an average of 245 deaths.