Chief public health officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam (Government of Canada)

opioid crisis

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

For the first time in decades, B.C.’s life expectancy may be dropping, largely because of the staggering number of deaths from opioid crisis.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in her annual report Tuesday that while Canada ranks among the healthiest high-income countries in the world, concerning trends are emerging from the 8,000 deaths across it in the past two years.

B.C. is home to the highest number of people dying of illicit drug overdoses over the last eight years, making up nearly three-quarters of the 2,000 deaths nationwide in 2017.

Tam said this crisis is contributing to the average life expectancy in B.C. sliding by roughly 43 days.

READ MORE: New in-depth report sheds light on who in B.C. is dying of drug overdoses

READ MORE: B.C. doctors told not to limit opioids or refuse care of chronic pain patients

The dip was more pronounced in men and in poorer neighbourhoods – similar to findings from the BC Coroners Service.

“We have to think about how to reverse these trends for future generations,” Tam said in a video online. “This is a key moment in Canada to examine how we address substance use across all areas of potential action: Prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery.

“My aim with this report is to draw attention to the central role of prevention.”

The report, which also focused on problematic substance use in youth, found that marketing, advertising and availability of a substance directly increases its use among youth – whether it be for a coping mechanism or trauma or other reasons.

READ MORE: B.C. guidelines focus on mother and baby fighting opioid addiction

Other implications to Canada’s overall health status include smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, and harmful use of alcohol, which all increase the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurological disorders, and diabetes.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Chilliwack mayor and MLA speaks at UFV

John Jansen makes presentation at Abbotsford campus on Tuesday, Jan. 21

Doxa Band performs at free worship event in Abbotsford

Program takes place Sunday, Jan. 26 at Central Heights Church

Alzheimer Society holds open house in Abbotsford

Event on Jan. 29 at Garden Park Tower is part of awareness month

Tougher burning rules considered by Abbotsford council

Staff suggest limiting open air burning to just two months

VIDEO: Highway 1 to look like winter war zone until owners retrieve wrecked vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

VIDEO: SPCA and RCMP remove several animals, including pig, at private animal rescue in Langley

Home at 5500 block of 216th Street has undergone multiple seizures over the past five years

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Vancouver police probe second homicide in less than 24 hours

Woman was found dead in her Gastown home

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Most Read