The use of fentanyl in street drugs is on the rise while public health measures designed to prevent overdoses are on the decline. Public health simulation models suggest that this government oversight will contribute to the greatest increase in deaths since the highest peak of the opioid crisis. This is unacceptable and preventable. According to a recent report, British Columbia’s paramedics, in July alone, responded to 2706 overdose calls – a record high number. We must address the opioid crisis, and addictions in general, with a mind toward understanding the long-term challenges of addiction. According to Dr. Tam’s report, this is of particular concern for First Nation communities, where they continue to be disproportionately affected.
This issue is top of mind and has been made more difficult by the health crisis. As we begin to return to normal in the months ahead, I will be calling on the government to act. This is a complex issue, however, we need to start working towards solutions and I am committed to playing a role in that process on behalf of all Kootenay-Columbians.