BR Overdose Crisis First Nations – CP

Source: The Canadian Press – Broadcast wire
Apr 30, 2017

VANCOUVER – First Nations leaders in British Columbia say they suspect the deadly opioid fentanyl is having a disproportionate impact on their communities but they can’t get the numbers to prove it.

Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit says he’s been asking the First Nations Health Authority and other provincial authorities for the data since last fall.

Over 900 people died in the province from illicit overdoses last year, and while John says he doesn’t know how many of those were indigenous, he knows plenty of families and communities that have fallen victim to the crisis.

The First Nations Health Authority says it’s working with B-C’s coroners’ service to develop an approach to collect the data that would identify indigenous overdose victims, but the release the information is still a few weeks out.

In the meantime, the health authority says it’s addressing the overdose crisis by educating the public about the harmful potential of opioids and distributing the overdose reversing drug naloxone.

But Tribal Chief Wayne Christian — from the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council that declared a state of emergency in March — says addictions treatment services also need to be improved to help end the cycle of addiction.

(The Canadian Press)


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