ontario news watch
British Columbia
Other Categories

Harm of toxic drugs on B.C.'s First Nations to be revealed by health authority

VANCOUVER — Information will be released today on drug toxicity deaths and their effect on First Nations in British Columbia. 

The First Nations Health Authority says it will release the data from overdoses involving Indigenous people in 2020 and the impact it is having on B.C. First Nations. 

An annual report published by the health authority in April said the overdose crisis has had a disproportionate effect on Indigenous people living in urban areas and women.

The B.C. Coroners Service says First Nations people represent 3.4 per cent of the province’s population yet accounted for roughly one-sixth of all overdose deaths across the province in 2020.

Eighty-nine First Nations people died from drug overdoses between January and May 2020, which the coroners service says represents a 93 per cent increase from the same time period in 2019.

There were 1,716 overdose deaths in B.C. last year, a new record death toll amid the pandemic, where border closures disrupted the usual flow of illicit drugs and more toxic substances took their place. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press