What is happening to the city of Vancouver? Who is responsible for the surge in violent crime? And is the introduction of a “safe supply” of toxic drugs, including heroin and cocaine, really the solution the city needs? Here’s what you need to know
Leslie Garrett, Guest
June 13, 2019
Pic added by Tales
If there’s one constant among addicts of all types, it’s shame. It’s what makes us lie and hide. It’s what keeps us from asking for help – though we don’t think we need it because we’re also good at lying to ourselves.
About why we eat. Or shop. Or gamble. Or drink.
Dr. Gabor Maté knows the feeling well. Maté, a renowned doctor, speaker, and author, has seen it in the heroin-addicted men and women he treats in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He sees it in the behavior of well-respected workaholics. The cosmetic surgery junkies. The power seekers. The ‘I Brake for Garage Sales’ shoppers.
He’s seen it in the mirror.
Maté, author of the groundbreaking book In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, believes shame is behind our unwindable ‘war on drugs.’ Our ‘tough on crime’ policies. Our judgment of addicts. Our marginalization of street junkies.
Maté knows, as so many of our spiritual teachers have tried to teach us, that our judgments of others are really all about us.
Maté, who serves as resident doctor at The Portland Hotel, a Vancouver housing project for adults coping with mental illness, addiction, and other challenges, saw himself in the stories of the women and men who, day after day, came to see him for treatment and who slowly, over years, revealed to him their pain.
Those of us still hiding and denying? Gabor Maté sees us too.
Gabor Maté was born into the Jewish ghetto of Budapest in 1944, just weeks before the Nazis seized Hungary, to a loving but overwhelmed mother and an absent father, who had been sent to a forced-labor camp. Just months later, his grandparents were killed at Auschwitz. At a year old, he was handed by his mother to a gentile stranger who was assigned his safety.
Maté understands now that those early experiences – or, more accurately, his mother’s frantic state of mind – guided the neural circuitry in his still-developing brain. Impaired circuitry that virtually prescribed a future of addiction and its close cousin, attention-deficit disorder (ADD).
Over years of hearing the stories of street drug users, examining his own past, and putting it together with his medical training, Maté became convinced that – as he says in a recent interview:
both addiction and ADD are rooted in childhood loss and trauma.
It’s a novel – and surprisingly controversial – approach, examining not the addiction but the painbehind it. Fighting not the substance but the circumstances that lead someone to seek out that self-soothing.
Circumstance Over Substance
Addiction, says Maté, is nothing more than an attempt to self-medicate emotional pain.
Absolutely anything can become an addiction… It’s not the external behaviors, it’s our relationship to it.
Maté calls addicts ‘hungry ghosts,’ a reference to one of the six realms of the Buddhist Circle of Life. These hungry ghosts are depicted with large empty bellies, small mouths, thin necks — starving for external satisfaction, seeking to fill but never being full, desperate to be soothed.
We all know that realm, he says, at least some of the time. The only difference between the identified addict and the rest of us is a matter of degrees.
It’s a view that has earned him some critics, not least of which is the Canadian Conservative government, which has sought to shut down the safe-injection site he helps oversee. The conventional medical community certainly hasn’t embraced his ideas. Addiction is typically viewed through one of two lenses: as a genetic component or as a moral failure.
Both, says Maté, are wrong.
And he says he’s got the brain science to prove it.
“A Warm, Soft Hug”
Maté points to a host of studies that clearly show how neural circuitry is developed in early childhood. Human babies, more than any other mammals, do most of their maturing outside the womb, which means that their environment plays a larger role in brain development than in any other species.
Factor in an abusive, or at least stressful, childhood environment and you’ve produced impaired brain circuitry – a brain that seeks the feel-good endorphins and stimulating dopamine that it is unable, or poorly able, to produce on its own. A brain that experiences the first rush of heroin as a “warm, soft hug,” as a 27-year-old sex trade worker described it to Maté.
It’s the adversity that creates this impaired development, says Maté, not the genetics emphasized by the medical community.
And our response to addicts – criminalization, marginalization, ostracism – piles on that adversity, fueling the addictive behavior.
The good news is that addiction can be prevented, but only if you start early. Maté writes in Hungry Ghosts:
[Prevention] needs to begin in the crib, and even before then… in the social recognition that nothing is more important for the future of our culture than the way children develop.
What about those children who are now addicted adults? Unprecedented brain research has revealed that brains can, essentially, be rewired. He continues:
Our brains are resilient organs… Some important circuits continue to develop throughout our entire lives, and they may do so even in the case of a hard-core drug addict whose brain ‘never had a chance’ in childhood.
What’s more, Maté, unlike many of his medical counterparts, factors in our potential for recovery, even transformation:
something else in us and about us: it is called by many names, ‘spirit’ being the most democratic and least denominational.
The Illusion of Choice
We’d like to think that addicts have a choice, that they can just choose to stop — even if it’s hard.
But Maté insists that the ability to choose is limited by the addict’s physiology and personal history. He states:
The more you’re driven by unconscious mechanisms, because of earlier defensive reaction to trauma, the less choice you actually have… Most people have much less choice in things than we actually recognize.
These unconscious impulses are why we find ourselves with our hands in a bag of chocolate after an argument with our spouse. It’s why we’re on Craigslist arranging a sexual encounter while our wife sleeps beside us. It’s why a respected medical doctor finds himself lying to his wife. Again.
“‘Have you been obsessing and buying?’ she’s asked me a number of times in the past few weeks,” Maté writes in Hungry Ghosts. “I look directly at my life partner of thirty-nine years and I lie. I tell myself I don’t want to hurt her. Nonsense. I fear losing her affection. I don’t want to look bad in her eyes. I’m afraid of her anger. That’s what I don’t want.”
For years, Maté struggled with a shopping addiction, spending thousands of dollars on classical music CDs in a single spree, then unable to resist the impulse to do it again weeks later after promising his wife he’d stop. It’s an addiction he refers to as wearing ‘dainty white gloves’ compared to the grinding drug abuse of his Downtown Eastside patients.
But, he writes, “I’ve come to see addiction not as a discrete, solid entity – a case of either you’ve got it or you don’t got it – but as a subtle and extensive continuum.”
Unless we become fully aware of the drivers of our addiction, he says, we’ll continue to live a life in which ‘choice’ is an illusion.
“Passion Creates, Addiction Consumes”
Is there a difference between a drug addiction and being hooked on a behavior — like sex? The medical community continues to debate the question, but Maté is adamant.
All addictions, whether to drugs or to behaviors such as compulsive sexual acting out, involve the same brain circuits, the same brain chemicals and evoke the same emotional dynamics… Behavior addictions trigger substances internally. So (behavior addicts) are substance addicts.
Where do we draw the line between addiction and, well, passion? What about the Steve Jobs of the world, who drive themselves — and others — to push harder, work longer, produce more and do everything better?
Daniel Maté, Gabor’s son and an editor of his books, says:
A lot of people make wonderful contributions to the world at their own cost… We often lionize unhealthy things.
To determine whether we’re serving a passion or feeding an addiction, Daniel Maté suggests that it comes down to a simple question, answered honestly: Are you free or are you not free?
His father takes it further.
What function is the addiction performing in your life? What questions is it answering . . . and how do we restore that?
Or, as he writes in Hungry Ghosts, “Passion creates, addiction consumes.”
Compassion for the Addict — and Ourselves
Responding to addiction requires us not only to care for the body and mind but also the soul, Maté says. The spiritual element of his practice is critical, he says, not only to understand the hard-core street addict but also our own struggle.
We lack compassion for the addict precisely because we are addicted ourselves in ways we don’t want to accept and because we lack self-compassion. – Gabor Maté
And so we treat the addict as an ‘other’ – this criminal, this person making poor choices – to whom we can feel superior.
Compassion is understanding, and to understand is to forgive.
We need, he says, to turn compassion into policy.
Maté summed it up nicely in a 2010 talk at Reed College:
To . . . point the finger at that street-corner drug addict who’s in that position because of that early trauma is blind to say the very least… I think that if we developed a more compassionate view of addiction and a more deep understanding of the addict and if we recognized the similarities between the ostracized addict at the social periphery and the rest of society, and if we did so with compassion both for them and for the rest of us, we would not only have more efficient, more successful drug treatment programs, we would also have a better society.
Source: Chinese Fetanyl Kingpins Laundered Over $5BN Through Vancouver Homes Since 2012 | Zero Hedge
A new “secret” police study has found that Chinese crime networks could have laundered over $1B through Vancouver homes in 2016 alone, and that a surge in the city’s home prices are simultaneously tied to a surge in opioid deaths.
The report examined over 1,200 luxury real estate purchases in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland during that year, and concluded that over 10% were tied to buyers with criminal records. Crucially 95% of those transactions could be definitively traced by police intelligence back to Chinese crime networks.
While the study only looked at property purchases in 2016, an analysis by Global News suggests the same extended crime network may have laundered about $5-billion in Vancouver-area homes since 2012. — Fentanyl: Making a Killing
Since 2016 we’ve chronicled the “dark side” behind the Vancouver real estate bubble, which it turns out has long been a bubbling melange of criminal Chinese oligarch “hot money”, desperate to get parked offshore in any piece of real estate, but mostly in British Columbia regardless of price.
A number of investigations have since uncovered extensive links – including money laundering and underground banking – between China’s criminal underworld and British Columbia drug and casino cash and VIPs, as well as their connections to China, Macau and the notorious triads. These investigations have found much of the B.C. real estate bubble can be explained as nothing more than the “layering” and “integration” aspect of a giant money laundering scheme involving billions of dollars of Chinese hot money and the criminals behind it.
On Monday the new bombshell study revealed just how extensive and growing this Chinese underworld racket remains and how it continues to impact average citizens and regular home buyers, as well as fueling the continuing opioid crisis across the US and Canada, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives across North America, including nearly 4,000 Canadians in 2017 alone. The figures are so stunning that what is “known” years after the story first came to light could merely be the tip of the iceberg.
The study published by Canada’s Global News begins by painting a disturbing scenario that suggests some of Vancouver’s priciest homes are nothing more than a new “Swiss bank account” of sorts providing the promise of an anonymous store of value and retaining the cash equivalent value of the original capital outflow from initial criminal transactions overseen for Chinese crime syndicates — all the while fueling Metro Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis.
The ultimate end result of the sophisticated and massive money laundering scheme is that middle-class families have been priced out of the city, per the report:
The stately $17-million mansion owned by a suspected fentanyl importer is at the end of a gated driveway on one of the priciest streets in Shaughnessy, Vancouver’s most exclusive neighbourhood.
A block away is a $22-million gabled manor that police have linked to a high-stakes gambler and property developer with suspected ties to the Chinese police services.
Both mansions appear on a list of more than $1-billion worth of Vancouver-area property transactions in 2016 that a confidential police intelligence study has linked to Chinese organized crime.
The Coming Bankruptcy Of The American Empire
Better to bring the troops home on our terms than wait for a debt crisis to do it for us…
Previous investigations had quoted concerned residents describing that: “Vancouver seems to be evolving from a residential city into almost like a lockbox for money… but I have to live among the empty houses. I’m a resident, not just an investor.”
The snapshot that the new police study provides is based on analysis of a sample of about 1,200 high-end sales in 2016. Investigators cross-referenced databases of criminal records and confidential police intelligence with those high-end property records, which revealed the shocking 10% organized crime ties figure.
But the implications for prior years going all the way back to the early 2000’s and even into the 1990’s, when Canadian police believe the current kingpins of fentanyl — which is the powerful and extremely addictive narcotic added to heroin to increase its potency (said to be 100 times more potent than morphine) — began to dominate Canada’s heroin markets, are equally as startling.
For starters, the report finds, fentanyl-related money laundering which funnels illicit funds through the luxury housing market has been so pervasive that researchers “didn’t have the time or resources to study the over 20,000 transactions”. During the course of these some 20,000 transactions home prices in Vancouver have tripled since 2005.
From the new “Fentanyl: Making a Killing” extensive report
And further illustrating just how extensive the whole scheme remains, there is this bombshell section from the report:
While the study only looked at property purchases in 2016, an analysis by Global News suggests the same extended crime network may have laundered about $5-billion in Vancouver-area homes since 2012.
At the centre of the money laundering ring is a powerful China-based gang called the Big Circle Boys. Its top level “kingpins” are the international drug traffickers who are profiting most from Canada’s deadly fentanyl crisis.
The crime network, according to police intelligence sources, is a fluid coalition of hundreds of wealthy criminals in Metro Vancouver, including gangsters, industrialists, financial fugitives and corrupt officials from China.
The report is so full of specific examples of multi-tens of million dollar homes that are actually money laundering conduits for fentanyl drug kingpins that it puts President Trump’s recent accusations against China for fueling the opioid crisis into fresh perspective.
At that time Trump attempted to lay out the case that Chinese suppliers had been fueling America’s opioid crisis, saying in part “It is outrageous that Poisonous Synthetic Heroin Fentanyl comes pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China.”
However judging by breadth and depth of figures merely from one major North American city (some American cities have been named in other investigations), it appears that Trump’s words actually understated the role of China and Chinese organized crime, of which it appears Beijing authorities have long been only too happy to look the other way while it takes deep roots on the American continent.
After all we can’t imagine China’s all-pervasive advanced surveillance systems and powerful domestic intelligence apparatus could miss this: “Police say that almost every drug seizure they now make in Vancouver turns up some form of synthetic opioid produced at factories in China,” according to the report.
Pretending the world isn’t bleak feeds the mania for unreal hope that exists within American culture…
Chris Hedges – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, ordained Presbyterian minister, ferocious anti-corporate activist and prolific author – has long occupied an isolated spot among American public intellectuals, as much a moral crusader as a political critic. But as American, and Western, politics continue to decay and xenophobic nativism continues to rise, Hedges, 61, seems less and less an outlier, his critique of contemporary America more acceptable to his countrymen. And that’s without walking back any of his analysis. If Hedges was worried nine years ago in Empire of Illusion that his nation – like all republics before it – would fail to survive the acquisition of an empire, he’s now convinced it won’t. The title of his newest book, America: The Farewell Tour, says it all. In powerfully reported chapters – including “Decay” (deindustrialization), “Heroin” (the opioid epidemic), “Sadism” (the pornography-industrial complex), and “Hate” (racism) – Hedges talks to the most oppressed and dispossessed citizens of an empire he thinks has not much more than a decade of life left.
Q: A very bleak and wide-ranging report. The Farewell Tour is, in its way, the antithesis of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now.
A: That book is the modern version of Candide. I mean it is completely unplugged from reality. Pinker, who has spent his life in academic gardens like Harvard, just doesn’t understand what societies look like when they break down. I’ve been there. I’m not an academic. I was primarily a war correspondent for 28 years. Pinker doesn’t get the dark side of human nature and how technology has, in degenerated societies, accelerated the power to commit wholesale slaughter. People love his book. It’s what they want to hear. But it’s not real.
Q: Yet he is correct that much of the world, especially in Asia, has been lifted out of poverty in the last generation.
A: But consider income inequality in China. It’s massive—there’s now a Chinese oligarchy just like the ones in the rest of the world. China is buying up half of Vancouver—what’s that town north of Vancouver that’s becoming the largest Chinese-speaking city outside of China? Richmond? To somehow measure wealth by GDP is a mistake. Having worked in places, especially Africa, in vast urban slums, I know the poverty is worse [than it was] for people who at least had subsistence agriculture before. So the whole measurement of wealth is wrong. The rise of global oligarchic classes with obscene amounts of money doesn’t mean the world’s richer. Not unless you read Thomas Friedman.
Q: You argue from a socialist perspective…
A: I’m not an ideologue. I once gave a talk in a Canadian university—I think it was the University of Winnipeg—some place where you can still hire Marxist economists. That doesn’t happen in America. Anyway, I finished my talk and one of the members of the economics department who had been sitting in the back stood up and said to the students, “I just want to make it clear that he’s not really a socialist, he’s a radical Keynesian.” Which actually is true. He wasn’t wrong. I’m not a Marxist. I read Marx and I think Marxist critique and understanding of capitalism is absolutely vital and true and probably the greatest critique we have. If I were running a hedge fund, I would only hire Marxists because they understand that capitalism is about exploitation, the maximization of profit and reducing the cost of labour. I think sometimes, to put it in Canadian vernacular, I’m a Tommy Douglas socialist.
Q: I think “perspective” still works here, given you don’t see any difference between the purported liberal and conservative parties in the U.S. or in the rest of the developed world.
A: Put it this way: nations have lost control of their own economies, in essence. So it doesn’t matter what people want. There is no way to vote against the global interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil. You can’t do it. And this, of course, is what has created political crises. The result is anger and authoritarian populist figures like Orbán in Hungary and the leaders of the current Polish government, and similar strong movements in France, Germany, Italy. This is a global phenomenon of which Trump is a part. But there’s an important difference. America is an empire. So we’re much more fragile than nation-states, non-imperial countries.
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Q: And much more dangerous. You cite historians who note how rising empires tend to be judicious in their use of military force, while declining empires are prone to wild swings of the bat to try to stay on top.
A: Yes, much more dangerous. You see that throughout history: the ancient Greeks invading Sicily, and their entire fleet sunk, thousands of soldiers killed and their empire becoming unsustainable; or in 1956 when Britain tries to invade Egypt after the nationalization of the Suez Canal, retreats in humiliation and thereby triggers a financial crisis and the end of the pound sterling as a reserve currency, marking the death of the British Empire, which had been on a slow descent since the end of World War One. The dollar as the world’s current reserve currency is running on fumes. The moment that’s over, American financial supremacy is instantly finished. It will be very similar to the aftermath of the Suez disaster—something like that is always characteristic of late empire. And the fragility of an empire means that when collapse comes it’s almost instantaneous. You look back at the rapid final fall of the old Soviet Union. A failing empire is like a house of cards that just comes down—it’s not a slow descent. We know from history what happens. It’s not a mystery.
Q: You don’t believe there is anything the system—meaning the opposition party, meaning the Democrats—can do to effect real change in the U.S.
A: Let’s be clear. The Democratic Party under Bill Clinton transformed itself into the traditional Republican Party, and the Republican Party moved, was pushed, so far to the right it became insane. The Democratic Party is a creation of the better-educated, more enlightened wing of the billionaire class, those who don’t want to be identified as racist, misogynist, homophobic Islamophobes. But fundamentally, the economic structures and imperial structures remain untouched because the Democratic Party, like the Republican Party, depends on corporate money to exist. So figures like [Nancy] Pelosi or [Chuck] Schumer have power within the party because they control the money and which candidates get the money. They’re the bag people, and they are acutely aware that should they institute real electoral reform—purging corporate money from the system—they wouldn’t hold political power. However decayed the ship of state is, they are not going to give up their first-class cabins. The Democrats’ entire electoral strategy is to hope that Trump implodes.
Q: To run on “we’re not Trump”?
A: Yeah—which could fail, by the way. Their elites, which include the media elites, are woefully out of touch with the country.
Q: When you write about Charlottesville, it’s clear you feel that all the people there, whether neo-Nazis or counter-protesters, were reacting to the same economic, social and psychological dislocations.
Q: With no answers at all from their government short of mass incarceration?
A: That’s right, that and militarized police. And again, in Canada too—look at the streets of Toronto during the G20.
Q: So that is the answer to the question puzzled liberals pose in America: why do Trump supporters in particular, or Republican working-class supporters in general, vote against what liberals see as their own interests?
A: That idea is just untrue. The Democratic Party has long abandoned working-class America. And the sense of betrayal on the part of the Democrats was deeper because traditionally the Democrats had been at least open to the interests of labour. That was all abolished under Bill Clinton, who—like Hillary—understood astutely that if they did corporate bidding they would get corporate money. The political spectrum in the United States across the two major parties is now so narrow as to be almost irrelevant. What they argue about are cultural or social issues. But that’s a form of anti-politics. They don’t actually argue about anything of substance in terms of the economy or foreign policy. That’s why you see complete continuity between Republican and Democratic administrations. So the rage is quite legitimate. That was fascinating for me when I was in Anderson, Ind., which is—was—one of GM’s epicentres. After NAFTA, carmakers could move to Mexico and pay workers $3 an hour without benefits. According to the old UAW officials, their members voted for Sanders in the primary but then voted for Trump in the general, because they weren’t going to vote for Clinton. They were fully aware that their city, their lives, their families, their ability to make an income that could sustain them, was taken away from them by the Democratic Party machine. Oh, and when I say complete continuity, one caveat—Barack Obama’s assault on civil liberties and levels of deportations of undocumented workers were actually worse than Bush’s.
Q: Civil liberties have been eroding for quite a while in the U.S., at least since the Patriot Act.
A: This is global. You have it in Canada, too. That security bill Harper passed that Trudeau hasn’t revoked? Your wholesale surveillance is as draconian as ours.
Q: One of your major themes is that contemporary politics has neither language nor platform to talk about economics and social issues from an anti-corporate, anti-capitalist position.
A: Not within the mainstream media, which has co-opted political language quite effectively. There is no genuine debate about the nature of corporate capitalism: how it works, what its economic effects are both nationally and globally, what its political effects are. It’s never discussed at all. In Canada the situation is better because of people like John Ralston Saul, Naomi Klein, Adbusters, so it’s at least possible to raise the issue. But in the U.S. it is quite stunning how it’s completely censored from public discourse. The health-care system is the perfect example. There is no rational discussion of it because people who advocate universal government-funded health care are never allowed to have a platform. We just don’t talk about how much money we spend for the most inefficient health-care system in the industrialized world. Instead, Americans get spectacle: this endless reality television show with porn stars and a maniacal idiot in the Oval Office sitting in front of a television set tweeting, and it’s good entertainment. CNN made more money last year than they’ve ever made. But it is not news. It has nothing to do with news.
Q: What can you tell me about the mix of hope and despair in your book. Is there hope in it?
A: I don’t think like that. One of the great existential crises of our time is to understand how bleak the world is, and resist anyway. But pretending that it’s not bleak feeds the mania for unreal hope that exists within American culture that I don’t share. That’s our exit door—it allows us to find excuses not to react with the militancy that we must embrace if we’re going to ultimately survive. There is a moral dimension to fighting radical evil. Most rebels throughout history do not succeed. But you don’t succeed without them, and the situation truly is hopeless if we do nothing. If we resist we have hope, however marginal and impossible that hope may seem. If we don’t resist, you can’t use the word hope.
January 17, 2018
The results of the January 16 meeting confirmed the usefulness of this event, the ministry stressed
MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. The meeting on North Korea in Vancouver does not contribute to efforts to normalize the situation around the Korean Peninsula but only exacerbates it, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
“The results of the January 16 meeting in Vancouver outlined in the statement by its co-chairs – the United States and Canada – confirmed our doubts regarding the usefulness of this event,” the ministry stressed in a statement. “We regret to state that such events held hastily and adversely affecting the work of tried and tested multilateral formats, do not contribute to the normalization of the situation around the Korean Peninsula, but, on the contrary, exacerbate it.”
Moscow is perplexed by the fact that the document mentions Russia and China, “especially taking into account the fact that the two countries’ foreign ministers had not been invited to the meeting where the Korean problem was expected to be discussed.” The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed to the words about Moscow’s and Beijing’s ‘importance and special responsibility’ in finding long-term solutions to the problems of the Korean Peninsula. “A reminder that our countries proposed such a solution over the past year urging others to join it,” the ministry said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry recalled that the Russian-Chinese roadmap to resolve the North Korean crisis is aimed at finding “mutually acceptable solutions to the entire range of problems exclusively by peaceful political and diplomatic means through scaling down mutual military activities in the subregion, holding direct American-North Korean and inter-Korean negotiations and discussing security issues in Northeast Asia in a wide format.”
“No one has offered any alternative to this document. The participants in the Vancouver gathering have not put forward any constructive proposals either.”
‘We can’t forget behind these numbers are individuals and families who are affected,’ says doctor
Health officials have urged Vancouver city council to push forward with new strategies to curb the high opioid death rate, including providing a safe supply of drugs to addicts.
Dr. Patricia Daly with Vancouver Coastal Health and Dr. Mark Tyndall with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control made the suggestion during a presentation to council at city hall Wednesday morning.
“We’ve become so used to this horrible situation,” Tyndall said. “We have to do something different.”
About 300 people died from drug overdoses in Vancouver last year, with numbers yet to come for the last two months of the year.
Daly said she expects the numbers across the province to top 1,400 once the final tally comes from the B.C. Coroners Service.
Deaths preventable, says doctor
“The deaths are still far too high. These are people who are at the prime of their life — almost all the deaths are between 19 and 59 years of age,” Daly said.
“We can’t forget behind these numbers are individuals and families who are affected. Everyone of these deaths is preventable.”
Tyndall and Daly were joined by the city’s fire chief and the city’s managing director of social policy.
Daly said the number of overdose deaths in Vancouver has improved since last April — including numbers from police and hospital emergency departments that suggest that the number of opioid-related deaths didn’t increase over the Christmas holiday period.
The previous year, that number rose over the holidays.
The improvement shows that some of the city’s current strategies, which include supervised injection sites, Naloxone distribution and addiction treatment, have been helpful.
‘We have to do something different’
But Tyndall advised the city to keep on trying new strategies to fight the opioid crisis, including providing safe drugs who need help beyond the current tactics.