Dr. Bonnie Henry has responded to a petition asking her to announce overdose deaths the same way as COVID-19 deaths.
Carina Stone started the petition three years after losing her husband, a renowned yoga and Buddhism teacher, to an overdose.
“The loss of 170 lives to overdose last month is heart-wrenching. I am mourning with the families and friends of those who have passed and I want them to know that B.C.’s first public health emergency – the overdose crisis – weighs on my mind every bit as much as COVID-19,” said Henry in an emailed statement.
“The BC Coroners Service reports on overdose deaths monthly as it takes time to identify the factors that contribute to the deaths – including toxicology and other information that is essential to our understanding of how to prevent them,” she added.
When Black Press Media initially reported on this story on Friday, the petition had 1,300 signatures. Since then the petition has garnered another 1,400 signatures for a total of 2,770 names as of Monday morning.
“We are getting frequent press conference updates with death tolls and current number of folks infected with coronavirus. My request is simple. Dr. Bonnie Henry, please use your platform to help work towards undoing the stigma and update us on accruing overdose numbers. This could happen alongside covid number releases. These deaths need to become visible,” reads the petition, written by Stone. “That would be demonstrating to this province that these lives are precious and valued.”
To view the petition visit tinyurl.com/y9tfcexh.