MEDIA ADVISORY – August 31, 2016. VICTORIA, BC

– MEDIA ADVISORY –

– FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –

August 31, 2016. VICTORIA, BC – Local groups host Community Candlelight Vigil on International Overdose Awareness Day to commemorate the lives lost due to preventable overdose deaths.

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. Today is dedicated to raising awareness about preventable overdoses and overdose deaths. It is also a day to commemorate and remember those who we have lost: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, co-workers, and loved ones. We also gather to acknowledge the resilience and strength of those who have survived overdose in spite of the gross negligence on the part of those most responsible for health care provision in this province.

On April 14th, 2016 Dr. Perry Kendall, Public Health Officer of BC, declared a public health emergency in response to the tragically high rate of overdose deaths and estimated that 600 to 800 people would die from overdose in BC this year given the trends at that time. Since January, over 430 people have died from overdose in BC.

The recently formed Joint Task Force on Overdose Response is not an adequate response to the crisis. Without the meaningful inclusion of people who use drugs, the “Task Force” lacks essential expertise to respond to this emergency. The government has tools at their disposal that have been proven effective, such as supervised consumption services (SCS). SCS save lives by preventing overdose death. In over 90 SCS around the world, there has not been a single overdose death. We call on the government to meaningful include people who use drugs in their response to the public health emergency and to release robust funds so that SCS can be established in communities across BC now.

In honour of International Overdose Awareness Day, Yes 2 Supervised Consumption Services (Yes2SCS) and the Society of Living Illicit Drug Users (SOLID) will be hosting a Community Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday, August 31st. The vigil will begin at 7:30pm at Centennial Square. Following a moment of silence, there will be speakers and food will be provided free of charge, as well as vigil candles.

“We want to honour the lives of those who were lost due to preventable overdose deaths and the war on drugs, and also call attention to the complete absence of life saving supervised consumption services available in our community,” said Katie Lacroix, Chair of the Board of SOLID.

Media contacts:

Katie Lacroix – SOLID, 778-350-9144

Alex Holtom – Yes2SCS, 250-508-3235

Shane Calder – Yes2SCS, 778-676-1995

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Infographic 8 – 800 could die of OD in 2016

This infographic reminds us of the stark reality. Government estimates say that over 800 people could die from #preventable overdoses in 2016, which is TWICE as many people as last year.

In 2015, there was 480 drug overdose deaths in BC in TOTAL. It is estimated there was over 10,000 non-fatal overdoses in BC that same year. The time is NOW! No to more to bandaid solutions! Yes to supervised consumption sites!

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#IslandHealth #TerryLakeMLA #FundItRight #FundItNow #Yes2SCS #SCSNow!