Forward 2020: Better Solutions, Together
Fraser Health Naloxone Kit

The Opioid Overdose Crisis

The Coroner’s Report on Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC was released in December 2016. There were 755 apparent illicit overdose deaths from January to November 2016. This is a 70.45% increase over the number of deaths occurring during the same period in 2015. The number of illicit drug overdose deaths in November 2016 (128) is the highest on record and more than double the average. In Maple Ridge, there were 29 overdose deaths in 2015 and in 2016, not including the month of December, there have been 25. Every other community listed in the report experienced an increase in the number of overdose deaths from 2015 to 2016.

In response to the crisis, Health Authorities have been engaging communities in planning around solutions. Fraser Health and other community partners including people with lived experience have been meeting since last July to develop strategies to address this crisis here in Maple Ridge. The Opioid Overdose Working Group is engaging in actions around these broader topic areas:

  • Community Resiliency
  • Prevention of Drug Use and Habituation
  • Harm Reduction
  • Response to Overdose Events
Part of the strategy is around communications and outreach - increasing awareness and providing  information to all members of the community is essential. The Strong Kids Team and the Opioid Overdose Response Working Group have hosted a Community Fentanyl Forum last October and Naloxone Training in December of 2016. This type of community focused engagement is essential in creating understanding of what is needed in the prevention of drug use and overdose. The reduction of stigma is also an important component of engagement. Individuals who use substances face incredible stigma. The impact of this stigma can prevent individuals from accessing health and social services including harm reduction services like Take Home Naloxone Kits

A critical component in the reduction of overdose deaths and injury is access to Naloxone, the drug used to reverse an opioid overdose. The BC Centre for Disease Control has increased access and availability to Take Home Naloxone Kits significantly. As of December 15, 2016, 17,828 no-charge naloxone kits have been distributed - more than 12,000 this year alone. Take home naloxone kits are now available at 367 locations in BC, including 57 emergency departments and four corrections facilities. In Maple Ridge, Take Home Naloxone Kits and training are available through the  Stride With Purpose Mobile Health Van, Alouette Addictions. Public Health and Raincity Temporary Shelter.
Fraser Health Lethal Drug Alert

The BC Coroner’s Service continues to stress the importance of harm reduction measures that include never using alone, having naloxone and medical help available, knowing the signs of an overdose and calling 911 immediately. More information can be found on the BC Coroner's Service Illicit Drug Death Numbers Hit New Record news release.

More information can be found through the following resources:

Overdose Public Awareness Campaign
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