2020 is more likely to be B.C.’s deadliest 12 months for poisonous drug overdoses

Man Felicella says he’s grateful to be alive this vacation season.

“I’ve a extremely good life at the moment,” Felicella mentioned. “I’ve three stunning youngsters and a phenomenal spouse. I am not homeless, I personal my very own home, and issues are actually good.”


Nevertheless it wasn’t all the time like that for the previous drug person. He spent greater than twenty years dwelling on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, utilizing hurt discount sources to maintain himself alive.

Hurt discount providers embrace a wide selection of remedy choices and helps that meet folks the place they’re at, they usually don’t require folks to cease utilizing medicine so as to begin getting assist.

In keeping with Felicella, “Trauma led me to hunt substances to manage and to perform via life. I used to be overdosing, being introduced again to life and homeless sleeping in doorways. If it wasn’t for important hurt discount providers that existed, I simply would not have the ability to have the life that I’ve at the moment.”


Now he’s a public speaker, advocating to cut back the stigma of hurt discount and educating college students on habit.

“As a society we could possibly be a lot much less judgemental in direction of people who find themselves struggling. It is the most important issue why folks do not attain out and obtain the assistance that they want. No one of their lives ought to need to undergo the quantity of trials and tribulations that I needed to take care of so as to lastly obtain assist ultimately,” mentioned Felicella. “If that is actually a well being concern like everyone says it’s, then we have to begin treating it like a well being concern, as an alternative of a prison justice concern.”

Regardless of the declaration of a public well being emergency on this province in April 2016, B.C. is on observe for its deadliest 12 months within the overdose disaster. In November 2020, there have been 153 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths. It represents an 89 per cent improve over the variety of deaths reported in November 2019. 


The variety of illicit drug toxicity deaths within the province equates to about 5.1 deaths per day, in keeping with the BC Coroner’s Service. And with one week to go in 2020, 1,548 folks have already died this 12 months. The earlier yearly file of illicit drug toxicity deaths was 1,549 in 2018.

Individuals are dying from a poisonous drug provide in each area of the province/ In 2020, 84 per cent of drug deaths occurred inside – 55 per cent in personal residences and 28 per cent in different residences together with social and supportive housing. 

“It is simply heartbreaking that 5 folks will die at the moment,” mentioned Felicella. 


“We will not normalize that, that is not regular and we as a society need to push to alter that so that individuals can get remedy on demand, safer provide on demand and to take away … that contaminated drug market.”