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North Island-Powell River MP wants federal plan on overdose crisis

Blaney advocating for health-based, timely plan to tackle crisis
North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney pushing for a federal plan to tackle the opioid crisis in the House of Commons Feb. 2. Photo Youtube

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney wants the federal government to come up with a plan to help deal with the toxic drug crisis.

“Toxic drug overdoses have devastated countless communities, like in my riding,” Blaney said in the House of Commons on Feb. 2. “Campbell River just witnessed the worst year on record for toxic drug-related deaths, having the fifth-highest rate of deaths in British Columbia.”

She was referring to the recent report from the B.C. Coroners’ Service, which counted 47 people who died in Campbell River because of toxic drug use in 2023. That is the highest count since records began in 2016, and gives Campbell River the fifth-highest rate of deaths in B.C.

“People need a plan and a federal government willing to act,” Blaney said. “Liberals drag their feet and offer up patchwork plans while Conservatives try to criminalize our loved ones who are struggling. Canada needs a health-based plan for harm reduction and treatment with a timeline. What is the hold up?”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health Yasir Naqvi spoke after Blaney, saying the Liberals “agree,” and that “when it comes to issues around substance issues and addiction we need to bring a thoughtful health care approach.”

RELATED: Campbell River sees province’s fifth highest rate of unregulated drug deaths

2023 was the worst year for fatal toxic drug poisonings in B.C. history