“That half pill he took killed him.”
Sandra Tully, who lost her eldest son in 2016 after taking a pill he thought was OxyContin but contained a lethal amount of fentanyl, is a member of Moms Stop The Harm (MSTH), an organization of families Canadians who have suffered from substance abuse. -harms and deaths related to consumption.
The organization held a rally Thursday morning outside MLA Todd Stone’s office in Kamloops, B.C., in response to the B.C. Coroner’s Service announcement Wednesday that 2,224 people died in the province in 2021 following a suspected illicit drug overdose – marking the province’s deadliest year on record.
Rally organizers are demanding a safe supply of drugs, the decriminalization of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use, and more treatment resources for people seeking detox.
“I would really encourage everyone to understand…we’re all human and we could all be subject to some sort of addiction, so take it easy on people,” Tully said.
The organization also held rallies in Vancouver and Victoria.
The death toll in 2021 is a 26% increase from 2020, which was already a record year with 1,716 suspected overdose deaths.
Cranbrook resident Pat O’Connell lost his son Byron to opioid poisoning in 2014. Byron was 27 when he overdosed on fentanyl while working in Alberta.
O’Connell said in an interview with Chris Walker on CBC South Dawn that the issue of drug overdose is on his mind every day.
“When we lost Byron, he was the second recorded fentanyl death in Alberta at the time…here we are eight years later and we’ve gotten nowhere. Absolutely nowhere,” O’Connell said.
South Dawn9:23The overdose crisis in British Columbia continues to escalate. We hear of a man from Cranbrook who lost his son seven years ago.
O’Connell said the provincial government has not allocated enough funds to deal with the drug toxicity crisis.
“I think part of it is that there’s no political will for somebody to step out of the box and address something that’s going to be very controversial,” O’Connell said.
“A report card with a capital ‘F’ on it”
Garth Mullins, addictions advocate and host of the Repression podcast, called for the resignation of British Columbia Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Sheila Malcolmson, on CBC The first edition Thursday morning.
“Two thousand two hundred and twenty-four deaths on your watch in one year, that’s a report card with a capital ‘F’ on it…yesterday they had a press conference where they were just proud enough of their progress. It was weird to watch.”
9:22British Columbia has officially recorded another year of staggering drug-related deaths
Sheila Malcolmson said stigma has not been the problem of this crisis, but rather the growing toxicity of drugs.
“To go from 4% fentanyl contamination just before the pandemic to 29% in the last weeks of 2021 is what takes lives,” Malcolmson said later Thursday morning on CBC. The first edition.
“It’s not a lack of political will, it’s poison.”
9:27BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions on Recent Drug Toxicity Figures
Malcolmson said there has never been such an expansion of support for prevention and treatment as the government is now introducing. She said if the solution was as simple as the resources, the problem would have been solved.
“Tell me how my resignation will save a life,” Malcolmson said.