Forty people died of suspected overdoses in Abbotsford last year, a 23 per cent decrease from the 52 deaths in 2017.
In fact, Abbotsford appears to be somewhat of an anomaly, as the overdose crisis continues to shake the province – 1,489 deaths across B.C. last year was almost exactly the same as in 2017.
“It is only through the combined efforts of the community at large that we are slowly able to move the needle on this devastating crisis. While the latest data is encouraging, we cannot become complacent. We must continue to do everything we can to stem the tide,” said Fraser Health interim executive director Andrew Larder.
Doug Smith, harm reduction co-ordinator with Drug War Survivors, says he feels the success in Abbotsford is through awareness.
“We’re pushing that lesson of ‘don’t use alone, don’t use alone, be cautious.’ The warnings are finally being listened to and people are living, now,” Smith said.
“The dope that’s out here is way stronger than it was last year, but we’re surviving better because we’re smarter.”