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Government Can Act Now to Prevent More Deaths from Tainted Street Drugs

The mother of a young man who died of a drug overdose says she can’t understand why governments fail to do what’s necessary year after year to stop drug users from dying.

On Tuesday, the BC’s Coroners Service released figures showing there were another 127 fatal drug overdoses in September.

It was the seventh straight month that BC’s chief coroner’s office had reported more than 100 deaths from the toxic illicit drug supply.

Leslie McBain of the group Moms Stop the Harm says hearing such news month after month is painful.

“I feel heartbroken, I know that 127 families, which would be from September’s numbers, are grieving and will grieve forever about the loss of a loved one.”

Her own son, Jordon, died of an overdose in 2014.

McBain asks, “we know how to fix this, why isn’t it being done by our government immediately?”

She says politicians and governments talk a lot about what they plan to do but says action could have been taken years ago to reduce drug deaths.

McBain says the first step is to ensure there is an easily available safe supply of clean drugs.

“The government has to make some very courageous commitments to working with people who use drugs, with groups like ours, advocacy groups, and with the bureaucrats on how to roll out an actual working evidence-based safe supply of drugs – period. That is the first thing they have to do.”

McBain also says accessibility to treatment and support is “greatly lacking” in this province.

She says there is not a lot of evidence-based, subsidized treatment in the province, and if an addict decides they want to make that difficult decision to try to end their addiction, finding a detox facility and then getting support after treatment is “almost impossible.”

When it comes to stopping the deaths from what is effectively a poisoned supply of illegal drugs in the province, McBain says there is a way to end these deaths and it’s being largely ignored.

She says a low-barrier, legal, and regulated safe supply of drugs is an evidence-based solution to the problem of large numbers of people being killed by the fentanyl tainted street drugs in the province.

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