(LifeSiteNews) –– After federal policy was implemented allowing legal illicit drug possession in the Canadian province of British Columbia, recent statistics show that more people aged 10 to 59 have died from overdoses than from disease, murder, suicide, and natural disaster combined.
Recently released statistics show that from January to May of 2023, there have been over 1,000 drug-related deaths in the province. This is despite federal and provincial policies enacted called “harm reduction,” which have decriminalized the possession of hard drugs.
According to information from the B.C. Coroners Service, 1,018 people have died from drugs in 2023 thus far, with an average of about 200 dying each month.
The province is on track to see more people die from drugs this year than last year’s record-setting 2,359 deaths.
An astonishing 85 percent of the deaths were linked to the dangerous opioid fentanyl, a depressant factors of times more powerful than heroin. Methamphetamine and cocaine were also responsible for some of the deaths.
A federal policy put in place by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from May of 2022, in effect, decriminalized hard drugs on a trial-run basis in the province of British Columbia. While the policy was approved in 2022, it did not come into effect until February of this year.
Under the policy, the federal government began allowing people within the province to possess up to 2.5 grams of hard drugs without criminal penalty, but selling drugs remained a crime.
Despite the latest government extension, the policy has been widely criticized, especially after it was found that the province broke three different drug-related overdose records in the first month the new law was in effect.
British Columbia back in 2003 was the first province to open what are known as supervised drug injection sites. Deaths have only gone up since.
Overall, some 12,264 people have died from drug overdoses in British Columbia since April 2016.
Comparatively, since that same year, about 32,000 people Canada-wide have died from a drug overdose. With a nationwide population of roughly 40 million but only 5 million in British Columbia, the province is greatly overrepresented in such deaths.
Despite the seeming failures, just last month Canadian MPs in a 209 to 113 vote agreed to keep in place a policy enacted by the Trudeau government, which more or less guarantees the “safe supply” of hard drugs to addicts in British Columbia.
LifeSiteNews reported on how some high school students in British Columbia were even given tools to snort hard drugs, such as cocaine, after a presentation that was held at their school.
Last month, LifeSiteNews also reported about a Canadian man from British Columbia who opened a full-blown street store selling drugs such as crack, heroin, and meth out of a trailer. His store, however, was shut down by police after he was arrested.
A newly released documentary by British Columbia-based filmmaker Aaron Gunn, called “Canada Is Dying,” takes a hard look at the massive increase in hard drug use in both the province and nationwide.
While British Columbia continues down the path of decriminalization, the neighboring province of Alberta is eyeing a different approach.
Recently, Alberta premier Danielle Smith, who won re-election in May, said that her government would tackle hard drug use through compassionate care and addictions treatment, and not through the “safe” supply of drugs.