Canada’s West Coast province of British Columbia (B.C.) has already set a record for drug overdose deaths in a year. More than 1,000 people died as a result of drug use from January to August, the Globe and Mail reports.
Vancouver, the center of the crisis, was the first city in North America to open a government-sanctioned, supervised injection site for heroin addicts and has since opened a second. There are now more than 20 such facilities across B.C.
Supporters of the sites believe in “harm reduction” and claim these areas lower overdose rates because users can inject drugs “safely” in a hospital environment, supervised by a professional-trained medical staff. Opponents say these sites merely promote more drug use and contribute to urban decay.
Pamela McColl, spokeswoman and director of the the drug-education group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) told The Daily Caller on Friday that the overdose crisis illustrates “the failed ideology of harm reduction.” She says the personnel running both the Vancouver and B.C. boards of health need to be fired.
“This is 100 percent not working,” she said, “but the people running these programs can’t admit that injection sites don’t make drug use safe.”
Regardless of the debate, the drug plague continues to grow with overdose fatalities expected to reach over 1,500 for this year — and that’s seven times more what the numbers were in at the turn of the 21st century.
It’s not that B.C. isn’t making efforts to deal with the escalating drug use. In April 2016, the province actually declared a state of emergency because of the rising drug deaths. No other province in Canada has done so.
Now B.C. has become the first place in North America to actually supply drugs to addicts. It plans to increase the reach of this program that actually offers pharmaceutical-quality opioids to addicts in the hope that they won’t buy the even deadlier variety on the streets that is sometimes mixed with fentanyl.
Other groups are now calling on decriminalization of drugs like heroin, purportedly because it will somehow reduce drug deaths.