July 24, 2020
The Honourable Patty Hadju, Minister of Health
The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety
OPEN LETTER RE: SAFE SUPPLY AND DECRIMINALIZATION TO STOP OVERDOSE DEATHS
We write you today out of grave concern for the lives of people in our communities.
As you may know, the BC Coroner reported that 175 British Columbians lost their lives to poisoning by accidental overdose from toxic illicit drugs in June 2020. This is more than any previous month on record and follows a similar record-setting death rate in May. Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe reported that toxicology testing data also suggests an increase in the number of cases with extreme fentanyl concentrations since April of this year. This lends weight to anecdotal reports from front-line workers and peers who have reported that, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, disruptions in illicit drug supply seem to have resulted in ever more products being sold that contain toxic levels of fentanyl, carfentanil and benzodiazepines.
Overdose prevention workers and peers now routinely issue alerts about severely toxic drugs circulating. People are dying, not just in our community, but across this country. It must stop.