Why Is the Addiction-Related Death Toll Climbing in BC During Covid-19
BC was already at the forefront of an international opioid overdose crisis before the beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the pandemic has led to a reversal of the successes seen in the provinces’ harm-reduction strategies. Here are several reasons which could explain the climbing addiction-related death toll.
One of the most notable causes is the nature of the pandemic itself, where some of the most effective strategies involve social distancing and remaining in place. Unfortunately, these measures are extremely dangerous to those suffering from addiction and at risk from danger thereof. It has cut people off from many of their support systems, forcibly inflicting isolation on vulnerable people who are not at their safest alone, and it has closed important safe havens such as supervised consumption sites. Many people are also facing sudden unemployment, which can lead to depression and relapses in what might otherwise be controlled addictions.
In addition, the pandemic has caused problems with the drug supply itself, leading to more deaths. The border closures have disrupted traditional supply lines and led to users seeking out new supplies and perhaps trying more dangerous substances that they do not have any familiarity with. Some dealers are also tainting their supply to extend it.
Lastly the pandemic has disrupted rehabilitation options. Residential Treatment may not be possible or may be considered too dangerous or risky to some. For some, therapy at a distance through programs like zoom feels more impersonal. Without that connection, it’s possible that some treatment programs are losing effectiveness. Budgets are tightening, especially at the government level, and funding for facilities is now in short supply, leading to closures.
Hopefully, we’ve been able to provide some guidance on a dangerous crisis that still requires attention, even with a pandemic that rages on.
Kuldip Counselling and Consulting has two convenient locations in Surrey and Langley. They offer counselling services and compassionate therapy in the areas of addictions counselling, and family and marriage counselling.
If you have any questions about this article or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (604) 764-9575.