Addiction in BC
A Public Health Emergency
The declaration on March 17, 2020 of a public health emergency related to COVID-19 means that British Columbia is now facing two concurrent crises: one, the rapidly escalating spread of the coronavirus and another, addiction in BC and the ongoing opioid overdose crisis.
Facts about Addiction
- 4,700 have lost their lives from overdoses caused by addiction in BC since 2016.
- In a year, one in five Canadians will experience a mental health or substance use issue.
- An estimated 68,000 youth between the ages of 15 and 24 meet the criteria for a substance use disorder.
- Close to 8 million Canadians struggle with addiction
If you are worried that someone who may be experiencing an overdose, it is important that you don’t leave them alone. If the person is still conscious, try and keep them awake and monitor their breathing. Here are the signs to look out for during an overdose:
- Loss of consciousness
- Unresponsive to outside stimulus
- Awake, but unable to talk
- Breathing is very slow and shallow, erratic, or has stopped
- For lighter skinned people, the skin tone turns bluish purple, for darker skinned people, it turns grayish or ashen.
- Choking sounds, or a snore-like gurgling noise (sometimes called the “death rattle”)
- Body is very limp
- Face is very pale or clammy
- Fingernails and lips turn blue or purplish black
- Pulse (heartbeat) is slow, erratic, or not there at all
In 2016, it was declared that the overdose crisis was a public health emergency in BC. This country is currently experiencing an opioid epidemic, which has seen increases in hospitalizations and deaths due to heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids.
Since then, more than 4,700 people have lost their lives to overdose in BC with more than 1,200 of these deaths happening in the greater Vancouver area. The crisis of addiction in BC is only getting worse and we need to help.
As of 2019, around 24 percent of Canadians stated they felt the opioid issue in Canada was a crisis, while 46 percent believed it to be a serious problem.
Almost half of Canadians report that they have used an illicit drug at some point in their lifetime, with cannabis being the most used illicit drug, followed by hallucinogens, cocaine/crack, and ecstasy.
If someone is making unfamiliar sounds while “sleeping” it is worth trying to wake him or her up. Many loved ones of users think a person was snoring, when in fact the person was overdosing. These situations are a missed opportunity to intervene and save a life. It is rare for someone to die immediately from an overdose. The most important thing is to act right away.
Addiction in BC: Resources and Organizations
Rick’s Heart Foundation is dedicated to supporting the incredible resources around Surrey and British Columbia. For more information on addiction in BC, and how you can support, check out these incredible organizations that we are proud to donate to on a regular basis. Donate today to help us support!
The John Volken Academy Program provides effective, long-term, residential addiction treatment for young men and women. This program works. It not only helps participants to get sober, but more importantly, it teaches them the necessary attributes to stay sober.
Wagner Hills Farm Society provides rehabilitation ministry to men and women with addiction.
Addiction is seen as a symptom of a broken life, as a condition that can be healed through individual inner growth and through transformation to a life that is lived in line with Christian principles and beliefs.
Healing, growth and transformation require time, individual commitment, and a tranquil environment. The two working farms provide a place of beauty, peace and safety for men and women to recover, to heal and to find hope and purpose for their lives.
Al‑Anon is a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. By sharing common experiences and applying the Al-Anon principles, families and friends of alcoholics can bring positive changes to their individual situations, whether or not the alcoholic admits the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help.
Alateen, a part of the Al-Anon Family Groups, is a fellowship of young people (mostly teenagers) whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking whether they are in your life drinking or not. By attending Alateen, teenagers meet other teenagers with similar situations. Alateen is not a religious program and there are no fees or dues to belong to it.