In 2018, 1,510 people died of drug overdoses in B.C., including 237 on Vancouver Island.
Who were those people? Not who you might think.
They were fathers and sons, brothers, mothers and friends, professionals, tradespeople, students … people with homes, friends and families who love them. No one is immune from this opioid epidemic.
Asked who is affected by the current overdose crisis, Chief Medical Health Officer Richard Stanwick answered without hesitation: “We all are.”
Here’s what we know:
- 83 per cent of the people who died from drug overdoses were men
- 88 per cent of deaths occur indoors
- 76 per cent of those who died were aged 30 to 59
Recognizing the tragic consequences the current opioid crisis is having for our community, Monday Magazine, Victoria News and Black Press Media wanted to find a way to respond in a meaningful way – to make a difference.
“We see the impact of this tragedy every day and the toll it’s taking on individuals and families. To be able to help – by sharing invaluable information, by helping reduce stigma and providing resources for people affected – this is what we have been able to do with the support of our partners,” says Penny Sakamoto, Black Press Group Publisher.
The result is the Overdose Prevention Guide, inspired by our sister paper in Washington State, the Everett Herald, but exploring the crisis in the local context.
This publication would not have been possible without our partners and community leaders, The Victoria Foundation, United Way Greater Victoria, Camosun College and the Saunders Family Foundation, in addition to valuable support from the teams at Island Health and AVI.
And from it we have found some light amid the turmoil. For example:
- zero deaths happened at supervised consumption and overdose prevention sites
- 1,045 Take Home Naloxone Kits were distributed in November 2018
- there were 226 active prescribers of Opioid Agonist Therapy, an effective treatment for opioid addiction, by the end of December 2018
- more people and groups are coming together to find solutions, provide resources and support each other
We encourage you to look for the Overdose Prevention Guide at various health and social services locations around Greater Victoria, or to view it online at through the e-editions at MondayMag.com. We also encourage you to join us at United Way Greater Victoria’s Overdose Prevention Expo, May 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bay Centre.
And thank you all for making a difference.