Five months after B.C.’s provincial health officer declared a public health emergency related to Fentanyl overdoses, the Christy Clark government is still not treating the crisis seriously enough, say New Democrats.
“This is a public safety crisis that puts both casual and experienced drug users throughout the province at risk every day,” said New Democrat public safety spokesperson Mike Farnworth. “Sons, daughters, fathers and mothers are dying every day from this drug crisis, and Christy Clark’s government is not taking it seriously enough.
“After more than 400 deaths this year alone, the premier has not taken the most basic steps. She should license the ownership of pill presses and tablet machines. This is legislation that has already been passed by the government of Alberta and which we introduced just this summer, but Christy Clark has refused to pass it.
“People can see that Christy Clark thinks that putting government political ads on television is a good use of taxpayer dollars. But that money and those ads would be better used educating the public about this crisis and how they can keep their families and friends alive and safe.
“The provincial task force is working hard, but if the premier won’t do something simple like banning pill presses, then how do we know that she’ll take the immediate actions necessary to act on the task force recommendations? The families of the over 400 people who have already died this year expect nothing less.”
Sue Hammell, New Democrat spokesperson on mental health and addictions, said that many people with addiction problems aren’t getting the services that they need in B.C., and said broken promises from the Christy Clark government are adding to the problem.
“The time for one off solutions delivered via photo ops has past. Premier Christy Clark is failing people who need mental health and addiction treatment and has failed to meet her election commitment for new addiction treatment spaces – a promise that was made long before this crisis hit,” said Hammell.
“Vulnerable people can’t wait until she gets around to it. Further delays means more lives lost in this case.”(ndp)
Top Photo: B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake, right, steps to the podium to answer a question as B.C. Premier Christy Clark, centre, watches during a news conference where the government announced the creation of a joint task force on overdose response, in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday July 27, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck