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Increased demands for safe supply as drug toxicity triples in B.C.

Last Updated Sep 30, 2020 at 10:00 pm PDT

Summary

Ellie Taylor found herself homeless at 14-years-old, she has struggled with drug addiction, & come out on the other side

B.C. has now passed our 2019 year total of illicit drug toxicity deaths in just 8 months

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The need for a clean drug supply should be pushed on every level of government.

That’s the message from a front line worker on the Downtown Eastside, who feels right now there’s the preferential treatment being given when it comes to who lives and who dies.

Ellie Taylor found herself homeless at just 14-years-old, she has struggled with drug addiction, and come out on the other side.

RELATED: B.C. mayors want provincial parties to address mental health, substance use

Now Taylor is fighting for those still dealing with their addictions and worries the supply has become increasingly dangerous since the pandemic.

“Every substance there is filler and it’s dropping people dead because it’s not responding to the Narcan,” she says.

Last week Andy Watson with the B.C. Coroners Service announced B.C. has now passed our 2019 year total of illicit drug toxicity deaths in just 8 months.

Last year saw 983 deaths and so far 2020 has recorded 1,068.

Earlier this year the provincial government announced safe prescription drugs can be provided to people who use substances, but Taylor feels physicians have too much discretion when it come to who is given a prescription and who is not.

RELATED: Vancouver councillor wants next premier to approach overdoses with same urgency as COVID-19

“Doctors can decide not to give you a substance that could save your life, so unlike cancer, diabetes which they would give you a treatment plan even anxiety I can walk in anywhere on the DTES and get treated but you try to get me on safe supply it’s up to them,” Taylor says.

As the toxicity worsens, she says the need for access to clean supply has never been greater.

“We need to understand every single person on this street of worry of life, the worry of safe supply and the need to not feel like a victim because they are actually empowered.”