Vancouver Police Department (VPD) reported four overdose deaths for the week of May 15, bringing the total to a record estimate of 158 deaths so far this year and have released a report calling on the federal and provincial governments to expand treatment options and offer clear accountability and leadership in addressing the crisis.
The Opioid Crisis: The Need for Treatment on Demand contains five recommendations to improve coordination and to ensure proper resourcing so that appropriate treatment with ongoing support is available for every person with a substance use disorder who seeks it..
“Vancouver’s overdose death toll in the fentanyl crisis continues to spiral out of control,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We need swift and comprehensive health care interventions to get people the treatment they need, when they need it, to reduce and ultimately eliminate deaths from drug overdoses.”
“There is strong support for effective treatment like clean prescription drugs among health providers, first responders, front line workers, people with lived experience, and city staff. The status quo clearly isn’t working, and it’s essential that the next BC government urgently funds the health care needed in our communities to save lives.”
Big City Mayors Caucus (BCMC) Task Force on the opioids crisis
The Big City Mayors Caucus (BCMC) Task Force on the Opioids Crisis (Chaired by Mayor Robertson) released a comprehensive set of recommendations (www.fcm.ca/home/issues/emergency-preparedness-and-response/the-opioid-crisis.htm) to the federal government, calling for coordinated, pan-Canadian action from all levels of government to stop drug overdose deaths and address the fentanyl crisis. As a first step, the BCMC is calling for the federal government to immediately establish targets and timelines to reduce overdoses and overdose deaths, with a progress report to be issued in September.●