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EDITORIAL: Toxic drug deaths a disturbing trend

Drug-related deaths are much more than the total of the statistics
(Black Press file photo)

The death toll from toxic drug overdoses is continuing to climb.

This year, from January to August, 1,645 people in British Columbia died as a result of toxic drugs, including 174 deaths in August alone.

While the August death toll is lower than the number of toxic drug deaths in July, the total number of drug-related deaths so far this year is still higher than it was a year ago.

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Drug use represents the leading cause of death for British Columbians between the ages of 10 and 59, and are higher than the number of deaths from homicides, suicides, accidents and natural diseases combined.

Since the province declared a public health emergency in April 2016 until the end of August, 12,929 people in British Columbia have died as a result of the ongoing drug crisis.

These numbers are chilling and disturbing.

However, drug-related deaths are much more than the total of the statistics. These are the stories of people who died as a result of an ongoing drug crisis. Each of the deaths involves a person who had friends and family who cared for them.

One does not need to look far to find someone who is coping with the pain of losing a family member or friend to a toxic drug overdose. And there are some who are wondering what will happen to a family member of friend struggling with drug use.

For those affected, the pain is raw and will last a long time.

There are no easy answers when it comes to the toxic drug crisis affecting British Columbia. Anyone offering quick, simple solutions likely does not understand the severity of the problem.

At the same time, the ongoing toxic drug crisis cannot be ignored. It is affecting far too many people and unless action is taken, the disturbing, deadly toll will continue.

The most recent statistics can show the severity of the drug crisis in British Columbia. But in the end, this is not so much about numbers as about the people affected.

— Black Press