Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has released the following statement regarding the BC Coroners Service’s report on illicit drug toxicity deaths in September 2022:
“In September, 171 people were lost to the toxic drug crisis. So many have been profoundly affected by this terrible crisis. My heart grieves for the people lost and the families, friends and loved ones they left behind. We are determined to end this tragic loss of life.
“When people make the courageous decision to come forward and get help, we want supports to meet them. We keep opening new and expanded services across the continuum of care, from treatment and recovery, to critical harm reduction and prevention measures that save lives.
“Separating people from the increasingly toxic and unpredictable drug supply is important to preventing drug poisonings and helping people stabilize their lives. That’s why in 2020, B.C. became the first province in Canada to introduce prescribed safer supply; we have been expanding it ever since.
“Since 2020, more than 14,000 people have accessed prescribed safer supply. Of those, more than 10,000 were prescribed an opioid. An average of 372 new people are being connected to prescribed safer supply each month. We know this is making a difference. Safer supply is saving lives.
“But we know that safer supply will not solve this crisis on its own. Our government is making historic investments to build a system of mental-health and addiction care from the ground up. We have opened hundreds of treatment beds and services in all regions of the province, such as in the past two weeks, 10 new beds in Cranbrook and a new mental-health facility in Terrace.
“Although progress on building a system of care is being made, the illicit drug supply is more lethal than ever, and we know there is more to do. We won’t stop working until all British Columbians can get the help they need, when they need it.”
For updated actions on the drug poisoning response, visit: