Wieman says First Nations woman were particularly affected, with a death rate that was double that of non-Indigenous women (Photo: The Canadian Press)
The chief medical officer of British Columbia's First Nations Health Authority says the toxic drug crisis in 2022 was the most devastating year so far for Indigenous people, their families, and communities.
Dr. Nel Wieman says First Nations people are disproportionately dying from illicit drugs in B.C. and the gap continues to widen.
First Nations people represent 3.3 per cent of B.C.'s population, but the health authority says 16.4 per cent of those who died from overdoses last year were Indigenous.
Wieman says First Nations woman were particularly affected, with a death rate that was double that of non-Indigenous women.
She says people will continue to die if action isn’t taken and she made a series of recommendations including for equitable and timely access to culturally safe services closer to their homes.
Colleen Erickson, board chair of the health authority, says First Nations are losing a whole generation of young people but communities are coming together to find solutions.
This month marked seven years since B.C. declared a public health emergency due to the overdose crisis and the province estimates nearly 2,300 people died from toxic drugs last year.
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