On August 31 we pause and remember those lost to toxic drugs

Communities across Island Health continue to experience tragic deaths and injuries from the toxic drug supply. In B.C., we’ve seen a heartbreaking number of toxic drug poisoning events (overdose) and deaths since the public health emergency was declared in 2016.

In Island Health alone, we have lost more than 1,579 people to toxic drug poisoning (BC Coroners, Jan 2016-May 2022).

“Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, a time to pause to remember those we’ve lost to toxic drugs,” said Dr. Sandra Allison, medical health officer. “On behalf of Island Health, I extend my sincere condolences to all who have lost a loved one – a family member, a friend or a member of our community.”

Responding to this crisis requires many approaches at many levels. This includes addressing stigma and other barriers that people who use drugs may face in accessing services and care.

Island Health recognizes harmful substance use as a personal and complex health and social issue that we can help to address.

In response to the ongoing toxic drug crisis, Island Health offers and supports many programs and policies to improve service delivery and care for people who use substances.

Find more information on services for dealing with mental health and substance use issues.

On International Overdose Awareness Day, Island Health remembers those lost to toxic drugs and commits to fulfilling our vision to provide excellent health and care, for everyone, everywhere, every time. 

Find out more about International Overdose Awareness Day.

Services for dealing with mental health and substance use issues:

About Island Health:

Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 860,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. With more than 27,000 staff and over 2,900 physician partners, 1,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.