Mayor Robertson’s Statement on the Release of National Overdose Fatality Numbers

March 28, 2018 | Safer Communities

March 28, 2018 (Vancouver, BC) – “We continue to see a heartbreaking, dramatic rise in the number of opioid-related deaths, with an estimated 4,000 Canadian lives cut short in 2017. The City of Vancouver alone had almost 10 per cent of all overdose deaths in Canada last year.

“Our first responders, frontline workers, and community volunteers are doing everything they can but our friends and family are still dying every day. We cannot stand by as a poisoned drug supply continues to kill our loved ones and devastate our communities. The status quo is not working and we need urgent, disruptive measures to turn the tide and end these preventable deaths.

“The current legal framework for drugs in Canada is failing and resulting in thousands of people dying. We need a new regulatory approach for drugs that ensures addiction is treated as a health issue, not a criminal one. Decriminalizing possession alone won’t solve the problem, but—combined with enhanced prevention and treatment options—would be a lifesaving shift at a time when the current approach is a humanitarian disaster.”

To view the report that was released yesterday, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s webpage.