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August 18th, 2022

10,000 lives lost in a single province – but the Liberals still refuse to fight the drug crisis

NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction Critic Gord Johns made the following statement:

“Every day, Canadians lose their lives because of the toxic drug crisis – it’s destroying communities and families. This week, the British Columbia Coroner released a report showing that the toxic drug crisis is escalating – 10,000 people have lost their lives in B.C. alone since 2016.

We need to take immediate action to stop the devastation and grief that this public health crisis is causing. It is not about numbers; this is about preventing more loss and protecting the lives of our loved ones.

Instead of acting, the Liberals sat by and watched for seven years while people died – it's appalling. Now, the Liberals have decided to take a patchwork approach to a national crisis – by decriminalizing personal possession in B.C. It is unacceptable that the Liberals, after taking so long to act, have delivered a lackluster “plan” that does not address the severity of the crisis or help anyone outside of the Rockies.

There are solutions available that must be rapidly scaled up and developed not just provincially but nationally – so that no more preventable deaths happen. New Democrats have called on the Liberals to introduce a national health strategy for fighting the toxic drug emergency. We need education and prevention, safer supply, harm reduction and treatment and recovery services.

Despite mounting losses and evidence, the Liberal government has doubled down on an incremental approach that is costing lives. New Democrats know that this is wrong – that’s why we proposed real solutions. But instead of listening, the Liberals teamed up with the Conservatives to follow the status quo. We know that the time for pilot projects has well passed.

The NDP will keep fighting so that parents stop prematurely burying their children. We will push the Liberals to adopt a comprehensive emergency response to turn the tide on this crisis."