Fear is not an option

The head of the BC Coroners Service has indicated that fear is not an option when it comes to preventing illegal drug use or overdoses.

In a letter to media outlets, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe acknowledged the seriousness of the crisis.

“The illicit drug overdose crisis has taken over 2,000 lives in British Columbia since January 2016, and the province is likely to surpass the 1,500 mark for deaths in 2017 alone,” Lapointe said in her letter. “Too many valued lives are being lost, and that's why the BC Coroners Service is working collaboratively with a number of partners across the province and the country to find meaningful ways to reduce the tragic number of deaths in our communities.”

However, Lapointe also made it clear the coroners service was not involved with a B.C. funeral-services company's public awareness campaign to highlight the danger of opioids, targeting youth and teens.

“While we acknowledge the importance of public education and awareness, the BC Coroners Service does not endorse, and will not be participating in, fear-based initiatives. Evidence suggests that the reasons for drug use are complex and multifaceted, and programs focused on scaring people from using drugs, are not effective in saving lives.”

Lapointe indicated scare tactics can increase the stigma surrounding drug use and actually discourage people from seeking help.  

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