Victoria calling on B.C. Government to help address overdose crisis

Victoria City Hall Generic Picture

VICTORIA -- Victoria council continue to fight for better measures to address the ongoing drug overdose epidemic.

A motion was originally brought forward by Victoria councillor Jeremy Loveday in late September, requesting that several resolutions be pursued by council in order to slow the amount of drug overdoses in the city. This comes after a summer that saw Island Health issue a number of drug overdose advisories for several communities up island, as well as here in Victoria.

"I think it's very important that this council doesn't let the delay of UBCM not considering these resolutions hinder our advocacy." said Loveday.

Heading into last week's annual UBCM meetings in Vancouver, the City of Victoria, in collaboration with the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities, had already endorsed two resolutions for consideration by the province. However, after city staff left the annual meetings feeling like the issues had been ignored, a new council motion was explored by Victoria council on Thursday night.

The new motion -- which was approved unanimously -- will see staff pen a letter to the B.C. government to express strong support for several resolutions aimed at preventing additional fatalities due to drug overdoses. These resolutions include supplying drug users with a clean and safe supply, and opening supervised inhalation sites.

"We know that over the last year over 1,500 people have died," said Councillor Sarah Potts. "These are deaths we could have prevented."

The letter will also request that the province’s timely and favourable consideration, as the issue of drug overdoses in the greater Victoria region continue to rise. Part of the approved motion will also see the City of Victoria call upon other UBCM municipalities for their support.

Every day, an average of 4 people across British Columbia die from a poisonous drug supply.

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