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Nearly six drug overdose deaths per day in BC during April

Nearly six British Columbians per day died from drug overdoses in April. One overdose victim was just 12-years-old.

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British Columbian drug users are continuing to die in record numbers, with April alone showing a nearly 50% increase in overdose deaths from the same time a year ago.

Toxic illicit drugs continue to take B.C. lives at a shocking rate. At least 176 British Columbians died from toxic drug poisoning in April, according to the BC Coroners Service. That represent almost six overdose deaths per day. The number of deaths set an odious record for April, and signifies a 43% jump from April 2020. 

April also marks the 14th straight month where more than 100 British Columbians died from suspected drug overdoses, and rockets the provincial rate of deaths for 2021 to 39.3 per 100,000 residents.

That announcement coincided with one from the Campbell River RCMP who disclosed Tuesday a 14-year-old boy died Saturday of a suspected drug overdose. That tragic news is similar to an incident about six weeks ago when a 12-year-old Victoria girl died as the result of an overdose.

The total number of drug-related deaths in 2021 so far is 680.

Fentanyl was detected in 86% of deaths this year, while carfentanil, a decidedly more potent version of fentanyl, was found in 62 samples in 2021 — about the same number were detected in all of 2020. 

“Once again, we’re reminded that the scale of this public health emergency is truly unprecedented,” said Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe, who noted the latest numbers illuminate the toxicity of the illicit drug supply in Canada’s westernmost province.

“We know that substance use disorder is a complex health issue, and those experiencing it need meaningful and compassionate services and supports. Far too often, we hear from families who have lost a loved one that no help was available despite desperate searches over months or years. It is critical harm reduction services, including (a) safe supply, are accessible where and when people need them, and that recovery services are evidence-based and accountable.” 

The Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health authorities accounted for the lion’s share of overdoses at 61%.

Other findings in the report include: 
• The number of illicit drug toxicity deaths in April 2021 was about 5.9 deaths per day.
• Males accounted for 79% of deaths in 2021.
• In 2021, 70% of those dying were aged 30 to 59.
• The proportion of deaths of those 50 years of age and older has steadily increased over the past six years. In 2021, 39% of deaths have been 50 years or over.
• No deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

Mike D'Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief and Copy Editor for the Western Standard. He worked as an investigative crime reporter at the Calgary & Winnipeg Suns. mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Joc2257

    June 3, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    The reason there is such a higher rate of death among males is because the Feminist’s societal structures that are sweeping all the nations of the western world put little to no value on men. It is the belief of these feminist’s governments that men and especially those over 50, have no redeeming value in a socialists’/communist society that they espouse.
    Men are choosing to either inject the poisons or a bullet it all depends on which is more convenient. With the lack of support from the communist NDP in men’s health and the closing down of the lumber, mining and oil industries the problems in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada is only going to multiply.

  2. j n

    June 2, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Nicely said!
    As people fall deeper into financial distress the rise in drug deaths will continue(statistically proven multiple times).
    Where does most of the fentanyl come from? I believe in BC/CAN, it’s China!

  3. Left Coast

    June 2, 2021 at 11:23 am

    “The number of deaths set an odious record for April, and signifies a 43% jump from April 2020.”

    Last year 2020, the number of Drug Overdose deaths was almost 3 times what it was in 2019 . . . dwarfing the Number of Wuhan Virus deaths in BC last year. In fact when you remove the Drug Deaths from the total, fewer people died in BC in 2020 than 2019.

    Now the 2021 number are exceeding the 2020 explosion in deaths?

    Where’s the Idiot Premier and the feckless Health Minister lyin Dix?
    Where’s their talking head Dr. Bonnie?
    ALL busy talking about “CASES” a contrived number based on Fake PCR tests and adding in their imaginary “Contacts” list . . .

    And the clueless citizens are mumbling into their useless Masks . . .

  4. K

    June 2, 2021 at 9:15 am

    More than the average deaths from the DEADLY PANDEMIC per day, probably

  5. Claudette Leece

    June 2, 2021 at 6:35 am

    Only have to look where the fentanyl is coming from, and no one would be surprised about these deaths

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LIVE: Election night 2021

Starting at 5:30 p.m.

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Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

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The Alberta government’s new vaccine mandates for businesses, entities and events are in effect.

Each organization must follow one of two options: implement the Restriction Exemption Program (REP) requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 42-2021.

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

The REP allows operators to avoid the majority of public health restrictions with the implementation of a proof of vaccination program, although vaccine requirements for staff are at the employer’s discretion. Face mask mandates are still required in all indoor spaces.

The program doesn’t apply to those under 12 years of age and businesses that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations. As well, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors will be permitted access to spaces without requiring a vaccine passport.

To enter spaces participating in the REP, adults need to provide valid photo identification that matches their paper or digital vaccine record showing name, vaccine type and date of administration. From now until October 25, proof of partial vaccination (one dose) will suffice, however after that date, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Those under 12 will only need to show vaccination paperwork.

Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities that don’t implement the REP will be limited to one-third capacity of their fire code occupancy and attendees must be in household cohorts or with up to two close contacts if they live alone.

Outdoor events and facilities have no capacity restrictions, but attendees must maintain a two-metre distancing between households.  

Restaurants that don’t follow the REP cannot offer indoor dining, and outdoor dining will be limited to six people per table from one household, and liquor sales will have to end by 10 p.m. with consumption cut off by 11 p.m.

Retail, shopping malls and food courts aren’t eligible for the REP, therefore will be reduced to one-third capacity of fire code occupancy and are required to stop all in-person dining, switching to take out only.

Indoor private social gatherings will be permitted for those that are vaccinated to a maximum of two households up to 10 (vaccine eligible) vaccinated people. There are no restrictions for children under 12. For those who are unvaccinated, indoor social gatherings are not permitted.

Private outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people who are socially distanced.  

Churches will be limited to one-third of fire code capacity and masks and social distancing are still mandatory in places of worship.

Employees are mandated to work from home unless their physical presence is required for their duties.

Proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place for Monday’s federal election although physical distancing, masking and other transmission reducing measures will be in place.

For more information on the Restriction Exemption Program, click here.   

Risdon is a reporter at the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Hockey arena backs down on banning unvaccinated kids

Within hours of the Western Standard posting the exclusive story, Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy.

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Public pressure has brought minor hockey out of the penalty box in Cochrane.

Following an exclusive story by the Western Standard on Saturday, along with mounting pressure from the community, a Cochrane sports facility has revamped its vaccine passport policy.  

The Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and Hockey Alberta were not mandating a vaccine passport system, but Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) announced it would be requiring proof of vaccine status for anyone 12 and up.

Within hours of the story being posted, CMHS President Cory Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy with this statement: “Youth between the ages of 12 (vaccine eligible) to 18 years of age are exempt from the REP vaccination requirement to enter the facility for the purpose of participating in a youth organized sport organization. Examples include (but not limited to) Cochrane Minor Hockey, Ringette, Cochrane Minor Soccer, Lacrosse, Cochrane Figure Skating Club, Comets, Junior Lifeguard Club, etc.”

Although youth may access the facility without being vaccinated, all adult spectators, coaches, volunteers and organizers of any youth activity “must show proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or medical exemption to gain entry to SLSFSC premises.”

“Although this helps our kids get on the ice in Cochrane, it’s still an issue at lots of other facilities, especially in larger facilities in Calgary and Airdrie,” Oaten said.

Oaten, who works in the insurance industry, points out the “huge liability issue” this poses to his and other sports organizations.

“Originally, Spray Lakes pushed us to collect this medical documentation from our members,” he said.

The CMHA board consists of 18 volunteer members.

“They can’t put those expectations on a board of volunteers. It’s a big legal issue for us,” Oaten said, adding he and his board refuse to take responsibility for requiring proof of vaccine or the collection of their members’ private medical information.

Oaten was informed the SLSFSC will now have its own security checkpoints set up in the facility and will take responsibility for checking the vaccine status of anyone 18-plus entering the building.

Oaten anticipates families will still pull their kids from hockey and other sports programs as those who remain unvaccinated will not be permitted in the facility to accompany their child.

Hockey Alberta stated on their Facebook page they are working with the Alberta government on how last Wednesday’s announcement will affect hockey for Alberta players. Oaten has asked his members to hold off on making a decision to pull their child from the program until Hockey Alberta comes forward with their updated season plan.

The Western Standard reached out to the SLSFSC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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