For immediate release, Oct. 20, 2020

The tragic news on Oct. 20 that British Columbia recorded another 127 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in September is a siren call for action by all levels of government. The BC Coroners Service reports that the death total for the first nine months of 2020 has reached 1,202, compared to a total of 983 overdose fatalities in 2019. This is the third-deadliest year on record for drug overdoses, behind 2017 and 2018. People between the ages of 30 and 59, especially men, continue to account for the highest number of deaths.

In a joint public statement about the ongoing crisis, the five candidates of the Communist Party of BC expressed the Party’s deepest condolences to all family members, friends and co-workers of those who have lost their lives.

“This terrible crisis has gone on for decades, in one form or another,” says the statement from the Communist candidates. “Thousands of British Columbians have died as a result of the so-called War on Drugs. Treating this as a policing problem has only succeeded in criminalizing and stigmatizing huge numbers of people
without addressing the health issues arising from illicit drug use. To save lives and end the opioid crisis, Canada and BC must end the `war on drugs’ once and for all.

“We fully support the common sense policies advocated by medical and professionals – a truly comprehensive harm reduction approach rather than piecemeal, poorly-funded initiatives limited to certain areas and municipalities.

“These measures must include the establishment of a permanent, safe, legal and regulated supply of drugs. This is absolutely necessary to end completely  unnecessary deaths now. We also need a dramatic expansion of mental health services and long term recovery support programs. Not least, the Communist Party of BC is campaigning to build 100,000 units of new and renovated low-income and social housing. Ending street homelessness and under-housing is a crucial policy to save lives, and to reduce the social and health costs related to the overdose crisis.”

The Communist Party of BC candidates include:
– Tyson Riel Strandlund (Langford-Juan de Fuca)
– Walt Parsons (Victoria-Swan Lake)
– Ryan Abbott (Surrey-Whalley)
– Kimball Cariou (Vancouver Hastings)
– Florian Castle (Oak Bay-Gordon Head)

For information on the CP-BC platform and election statements, visit the party’s website: