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We are working hard to combat the opioid overdose crisis in BC : Kendall

Friday marks the one-year anniversary since the Provincial Health Officer declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

Since that time, 919 people have lost their lives including 49 across the north.

Dr. Perry Kendall believes another substance played a role in the death spike from November to January.

“We’ve seen carfentanil come into the market as well and now we think that is really what caused that spike in overdoses at the end of 2016. For the first 3 quarters of the year we thought we were making a dent and then the numbers shot up.”

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Kendall issued a statement on Thursday.

He adds 24,000 British Columbians entered substance abuse treatment programs with many getting help from opioid-assisted therapy.

Kendall says the ministry is in a better position to deal with the opioid-overdose crisis.

“I think we have a really good infrastructure now for substance use programming for people with issues and we need to continue to build that and create links across the recovery community.”

Many medical professionals are taking a more proactive approach to this issue.

“We’ve seen a lot more physicians taking on prescribing of some treatments like Suboxone with over 800 in 2016 up from roughly 260 in 2015.”

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