Editorial: No easy answers for drug crisis

Opioid crisis will be with us for a long time

There was some good news out of the report the B.C. Coroners Service released Jan. 31., that overdose deaths declined in the last quarter of 2017 compared to 2016.

Related: More than 1,400 people in B.C. died of drug overdoses in 2017

There were 99 deaths last December, compared to 164 the previous year. But that’s about all the good news. Overall, 2017 was the deadliest year for overdose deaths B.C. has ever seen, with 1,422 deaths compared to 914 in 2016.

In the majority of those deaths, 81 per cent, the synthetic opioid, fentanyl played a part. That’s an increase over 2016 again, when the figure was estimated at 67 per cent.

That many deaths makes you question just how much fentanyl is in circulation, how many other overdoses there were that didn’t result in death, via the timely application of naloxone or other lifesaving measures.

Overdose deaths have been on the rise since 2008, when there were less than 200 deaths. Over the last three years, 2015, 2016 and 2017, the numbers have climbed dramatically.

Related: Penticton group, IH eyeing overdose prevention site

The downward trend towards the end of last year is positive, even indicative that current measures are working. But it’s way too early for governments and non-government organizations to relax.

The size of this crisis is overwhelming, and spreads throughout society thanks to years of over-prescribing painkillers creating addicts in neighborhoods from the poorest to the richest.

Making naloxone kits available is really only a stopgap measure to prevent overdose deaths; it’s dealing with the problem at the end of the line. Any lasting solution to stopping this waste of human life is going to have to take place earlier, and it is going to require a massive co-ordinated effort: reduce the amount of drugs on the street, prevent people from falling into drug abuse on the first place and especially, make addiction treatment easier to access than the drugs.

Just Posted

TRUE explores Penticton tourism offerings

Event showcases local experiences for tourism week

Fun and games, medieval style

more fun than watching the royal wedding

Caravan Farm Theatre fundraiser embraces outlaw spirit

The third annual Hands Up! Live Auction Fundraisder is June 2

Reel Reviews: Atypical college life

We say, “Life of the Party is pleasant and harmless.”

Tigers clawing the competition

Penticton Tigers continue their winning ways with four more victories.

A good day for a grind

Summerland’s Giant’s Head Grind now in fifth year

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to B.C.

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

The Okanagan shines in foodie finalist list

Western Living has released their 2018 list of finalists

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

In Photos: Trooper attracts a crowd on Shuswap Lake

Hundreds of boats turn up to watch the Canadian rockers play atop a 94 foot houseboat

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

Most Read