Chief public health officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam (Government of Canada)

opioid crisis

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

For the first time in decades, B.C.’s life expectancy may be dropping, largely because of the staggering number of deaths from opioid crisis.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in her annual report Tuesday that while Canada ranks among the healthiest high-income countries in the world, concerning trends are emerging from the 8,000 deaths across it in the past two years.

B.C. is home to the highest number of people dying of illicit drug overdoses over the last eight years, making up nearly three-quarters of the 2,000 deaths nationwide in 2017.

Tam said this crisis is contributing to the average life expectancy in B.C. sliding by roughly 43 days.

READ MORE: New in-depth report sheds light on who in B.C. is dying of drug overdoses

READ MORE: B.C. doctors told not to limit opioids or refuse care of chronic pain patients

The dip was more pronounced in men and in poorer neighbourhoods – similar to findings from the BC Coroners Service.

“We have to think about how to reverse these trends for future generations,” Tam said in a video online. “This is a key moment in Canada to examine how we address substance use across all areas of potential action: Prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery.

“My aim with this report is to draw attention to the central role of prevention.”

The report, which also focused on problematic substance use in youth, found that marketing, advertising and availability of a substance directly increases its use among youth – whether it be for a coping mechanism or trauma or other reasons.

READ MORE: B.C. guidelines focus on mother and baby fighting opioid addiction

Other implications to Canada’s overall health status include smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, and harmful use of alcohol, which all increase the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurological disorders, and diabetes.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

WATCH: Group of 150 gather for Fraser Valley Marches for Women in Chilliwack

Waving signs, women make their way down Young Road as part of second annual march in Chilliwack

Chilliwack prolific offender wanted yet again

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan

One man, two women charged with stolen pickup downtown Chilliwack

None of the three have criminal history in B.C.

COLUMN: Should elected officials block constituents and reporters on social media?

Ottawa mayor was sued for doing that but a Chilliwack school trustee didn’t get that message

Chilliwack-Hope MP says new summer jobs grant application no longer includes ‘values test’

Those with anti-abortion beliefs left out last year because of requirement to respect the Charter

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

Most Read