As the grim opioid crisis continues to grip the province, Agassiz-Harrison does not go untouched.
B.C. Emergency Health Service recently released data concerning overdose response in communities across the province last year. BCEHS responded to 34 overdose calls in 2022 in Agassiz. While this is a considerable drop from last year’s 60 calls – which averages out to be more than one call per week – it remains slightly higher than most of the past six years.
According to the B.C. Coroners’ Service, 2,272 people have died from a poisoned drug supply last year alone. Since the province declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in 2016, more than 11,000 people fatally overdosed in B.C.
In Agassiz-Harrison, seven people have died due to illicit drug toxicity between 2017 and 2022.
These latest statistics were released in the wake of the province introducing a three-year decriminalization project. As of Tuesday, those who use drugs may carry up to 2.5 grams without fear of having the drugs seized or being arrested. The object of decriminalization is to reduce stigma of drug use, thereby increasing the probability drug users can get help. Experts and advocates generally regard this pilot project as a step in the right direction, but some see the move as falling short.
– With files from Jane Skrypnek
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