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

Fundraiser established for the family of Penticton crash victim

A GoFundMe account has been established for the driver who died in Carmi Avenue accident

Friendly falcon now in residence at Okanagan raptor rehab centre

A rare prairie falcon caught in Trail will spend the winter at the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre

South Okanagan Métis step up involvement with school district

The association wants to have more of a role in the inclusion of Métis culture, history in schools

Christmas cheer coming to downtown Penticton

Downtown Penticton Association are getting into the Christmas spirit

Council concerned about blocking cannabis retail from Main Street

Cannabis policy expected to be ready for Penticton city council on Dec. 4

VIDEO: E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Lower Mainland suspect identified in fatal northern B.C. hit and run

Suspect and seven other individuals believed involved located on Haida Gwaii

‘Bait and switch’ warning ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Competition Bureau of Canada is warning shoppers of illegal sale tactics

Legal battle ahead for suspended B.C. legislature executives

Public removal ‘very unfair,’ says veteran clerk Craig James

B.C. sees biggest spike in homicides across Canada, at 34%

Much of the killing was attributed to gang violence, according to Statistics Canada

Sea lion tangled in rope on Vancouver Island

Marine debris is a ‘significant problem’ for marine wildlife

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

$90,000 pen from space created by B.C man

The Space pen is made from a meteorite

B.C. woman fined $2,300 for clocking 215 km/hr in Alberta

It’s the highest fine Alberta police have issued

Most Read