Tag Archives: Kora DeBeck

Youth face barriers to overdose harm reduction, say front-line workers

Editor’s note: There were 47 drug related deaths in the Greater Campbell River Health Area during 2023. This is the third worst drug related death rate on Vancouver Island, only surpassed by Victoria (145) and Nanaimo (116). There were 31 drug related deaths in Greater Campbell River during 2022 and 26 in 2021

Greater Campbell River is a health area that stretches from the Oyster River to Sayward on the east coast of Vancouver Island, and includes Discovery Island communities like Cortes, Quadra and Read, but the epicentre of this public health emergency is the city of Campbell River.  According to BC emergency Health Services, paramedics responded to 681 drug overdose calls in Campbell River last year. The numbers have kept increasing every year since COVID arrived in March 2020 and did not decrease after the period of self distancing ended. There were 525 callouts in 2022, 404 in 2021 and 249 in 2020. In the four years prior to that, the call numbers fluctuated from a low of 152 in 2016 to a high of 230 in 2018.

By Alexandra Mehl, Ha-Shilth-Sa, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

With the toxic drug crisis as the leading cause of death for British Columbians aged 10 though 59, nearly 170 youth, aged 18 and under, have lost their lives since 2017. According to experts, not enough research and monitoring has been done to assess the impacts of the crisis on young people, who also face barriers when accessing harm reduction services.

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