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.

Just Posted

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

Blackwater Gold Project receives a thumbs up from the Environmental Assessment Agency

The $1.8 billion project will provide approximately 2,000 jobs

Hazelton RCMP officer pleads not guilty to assault

A trial date for Const. Eric Unrau will be set on Apr. 23

MP Nathan Cullen to testify at oil tanker ban committee hearings

Senators travel to Prince Rupert and Terrace as part of fact-finding mission on Bill C-48

UPDATE: Four victims identified in deadly Penticton shooting spree

John Brittain, 68, faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Hwang’s first MLS goal lifts Whitecaps to 1-0 win over LAFC

Vancouver picks up first victory of season

Verdict scheduled in Giesbrecht murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court justice will render his decision May 24

Child-proof your windows ahead of warm weather: B.C. expert

Fifteen children were taken to BC Children’s Hospital for falls in 2018

B.C. trucker pleads guilty to lesser charges in fatal Manitoba crash

Gurjant Singh was fined $3,000 and given a one-year driving prohibition.

Study links preschool screen time to behavioural and attention problems

The research looked at more than 2,400 families

More than $100,000 raised for family of professional skier who died near Pemberton

Dave Treadway leaves behind his pregnant wife and two young boys

BC SPCA asks public for donations after puppy caught in trap

The puppy’s medical bills are expected to amount to more than $4,600

Most Read