BC's Health Minister says overdose epidemic is the worst health crisis we've ever faced

With 914 drug overdose deaths confirmed in the province in 2016 -- BC's Health Minister is calling it the worst health crisis we've ever faced.

The numbers have reached unprecedented levels after the arrival of the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Terry Lake says the province is doing what it can, but adds it's important to have a national response to the problem and the federal government needs to to more to help:

"Well they've done some of the things that are important in terms of making it easier to open up supervised consumption sites, giving more power to Canadian border services to intercept the fentanyl coming into the country.  But you know, if any other agent or cause resulted in thousands of people across the country dying I think we would have a more fulsome response."

Lake says Ottawa shouldn't treat the overdose epidemic any differently than the SARS epidemic, or terrorism:

"If we were to see this kind of death rate from something like terrorism we definitely would see a more robust national response. So while we are quibbling about funding for health care and trying to get the federal government to pay a fair share of healthcare funding, we've had no financial resources to help us with this epidemic."

Lake says BC has put a lot of resources in place which has saved lives, but adds we are in a scenario never seen before.

 

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