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‘It’s still killing people’: Mom frustrated over latest overdose deaths data

VANCOUVER – A decade after fentanyl first came on the black market and seven years after B.C. declared a public health emergency, illicit drugs continue to kill British Columbians.

The latest data from the BC Coroners Service reveals six to seven people lose their lives to the crisis each day.

If the trend continues, B.C. is on track for yet another record-breaking year of overdose fatalities.

“It's really horrible that this has carried on for so long. And not only that, it's getting worse. You know, it's been seven years since my daughter died. We knew what killed her then and it's still killing people now,” said Deb Bailey, a member of Moms Stop the Harm, an advocacy group of families impacted by overdose deaths.

Bailey’s 21-year-old daughter, Ola, died from a toxic drug overdose just before Christmas in 2015.

She was scheduled to meet a new physician to address her addiction on December 28, but she was killed before she could turn her life around.

“Addiction is treatable, you know, and people can get over it. So we're losing all these people and it makes me frustrated that we won’t to do more to stop this,” she said.

Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said they are doing everything they can to save lives, including providing treatment and safe supply, and the recent decriminalization of small amounts of some drugs.

“Anything to keep people away from the illicit black market, because the only people benefiting right now are the organized crime groups that are driving this crisis, making the money and the misery and pain that we are seeing across our province,” Lapointe told CTV News.

While the province is trying to fight the crisis of toxic drugs, they are also battling the spread of misinformation, which is blaming safe supply for the rampant drug overdose deaths.

“We are really closely tracking that. We have seen no evidence that safer supply is contributing or causing any of these deaths,” the chief coroner said.

Bailey believes if Ola had access to safe supply back then, her daughter would still be alive.

“If Ola had come home one day and said, ‘Hey mom, I'm going on a safe heroin program.’ I wouldn't have been thrilled. It’s not what I wanted for her, and it's not what she wanted for herself either. But at least I would have known that she wasn't going to die and when they're still alive, there's still hope,” she explained.

She implores all three levels of government to work together and think outside the box for solutions before someone else’s child becomes a statistic. Top Stories

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