First Na­tions in B.C. three times more likely to fa­tally over­dose

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

VAN­COU­VER — Data re­leased by pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials sug­gest First Na­tions peo­ple in Bri­tish Columbia are three time more likely to die of il­licit drug over­doses.

It’s the first time the in­for­ma­tion has been re­leased in B.C., but it’s a year old be­cause of var­i­ous steps in­volved in making it pub­lic.

The First Na­tions Health Au­thor­ity also says Indige­nous peo­ple are five times more likely than others to ex­pe­ri­ence non-fa­tal over­doses. It says First Na­tions peo­ple are over-rep­re­sented in Bri­tish Columbia’s over­dose cri­sis, which claimed nearly 1,000 peo­ple last year and that trauma, racism and stigma are part of the prob­lem.

Dr. Shan­non McDon­ald, the health au­thor­ity’s deputy chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer, says more First Na­tions women fa­tally over­dosed com­pared with their non-First Na­tions coun­ter­parts be­cause of their ``un­speak­able ex­pe­ri­ences’’ as young girls.

Men­tal Health and Ad­dic­tions Min­is­ter Judy Darcy says the pre­lim­i­nary data will be used to iden­tify ac­tions that will best sup­port First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties.

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