Summer 2020 has been the worst ever for drug overdoses stemming from an extremely toxic supply, according to a new documentary from Stólō Services Agency (SSA).
The pandemic has allowed the overdose crisis to continue unabated and largely undiscussed.
“We’re having an overdose crisis right here and now in our own community,” Inez Louis, a nurse with Stólō Nation says in the new film Calling of the Heart.
“It’s in our backyard, in our front yard, in our neighbour’s yard, and with our loved ones.”
That clip was in the teaser released by Stólō Nation on International Overdose Awareness Day, Aug. 31, to get the word out the new short film, Á:ylexw tel Th’á:á (Calling of the Heart).
The filmmakers make the point that “COVID-19 has allowed the (overdose) crisis to largely go unnoticed,” and that current circumstances amid the global pandemic “continue to make it much worse.”
The stereotypical image most people have of a drug overdose is someone in the street hunched over with a needle sticking out of their arm.
But the reality often looks quite different.
The majority people who die of overdoses are in fact “dying in their homes and dying alone.”
“These are our family members, our loved ones, so that’s why this conversation is so necessary,” Louis said.
The film teaser was introduced on the Facebook page of the SSA yesterday, with this message:
“All people deserve life. The drug supply is currently more toxic and deadly than ever due to the coronoavirus pandemic interrupting cleaner supply.
“Let’s have these conversations and spread the word.”
So far in 2020, 85 per cent of illicit drug toxicity deaths occurred indoors, according to stats from the according to the B.C. Coroners Service Illicit Drug Toxicity Deaths in B.C.
Of that 85 per cent total, 56 per cent were in private residences and 29 per cent were in social and supportive housing, SROs, shelters, and hotels and other indoor locations, while only 14 per cent occurred outside, in vehicles, sidewalks, streets, parks, etc.
But in June 2020, autopsy results revealed by BC Coroners Services showed that the illegal drug supply was more toxic and deadlier that ever, and identified the highest risk groups in the Fraser Valley as men in the trades and Indigenous women.
Across B.C. in July 2020, there were 175 suspected overdose deaths, which represents a 136 per cent increase over the number of deaths seen in July 2019 , which as 74, according to the coroners’ overdose report.
The text “We need to talk” flashes on the screen at one point, revealing one of the central messages of the film about the deadly impact of the stigmatization and the silence attached to drug overdose as a phenomenon.
“It’s tragic because it’s so preventable. No one has to die from this.”
See more at stopoverdose.gov.bc.ca
Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.