The First Nations Health Authority says that 89 people in its community had a fatal overdose of illicit drugs in British Columbia between January and May, an increase of 93% over the same period last year.
The authority’s acting chief medical officer, Dr. Shannon McDonald, said measures to control the spread of COVID-19 have led people to use drugs alone since they are less likely to have access to drugs. risk reduction services.
McDonald’s claims that 16% of all overdose deaths in the province until May of this year involved First Nations people, although they represent only 3.4% of the population of British Columbia.
She says systemic barriers and stigma have prevented First Nations from using health services.
The First Nations Health Authority and the province recently provided $ 20 million in funding for treatment and support services specifically for First Nations, and the Health Authority has asked the federal government to provide the same amount.
Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe says it is “terrifying” that overdose deaths overall increased in British Columbia during the pandemic, as more and more toxic substances entered the streets.