on the july coroners update
on overdose deaths in BC.
i want to give people some information about this update from the provincial coroner on tuesday. it’s your information, actually, and sometimes facts are hard to come by. i’ll do separate posts because nobody likes one that goes on forever.
first here’s a few things the coroner said.
“The number of people dying in B.C. due to an unsafe drug supply continues to surpass deaths due to homicides, motor vehicle incidents, suicides and COVID-19 combined,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner.
or 5.6 deaths every day. average.
july was the third month in a row when there were 170+ Illicit Drug Toxicity Deaths -> using “illicit” to mean that they *socially* not permitted, so people use alone – and not just illegal. different. and toxicity -> poisoned, not overdose. because you use what you use but there’s not way of knowing this.
this is from the coroner’s service statement:
“Once again, post-mortem toxicology testing data published in this report suggest an increase in the number of cases with extreme fentanyl concentrations (exceeding 50 micrograms per litre) in April, May, June and July 2020 compared with previous months.”
how concentrated is that? compare smooth peanut butter vs crunchy. but you can’t see the crunchy bits.
those tiny numbers at the bottom of this are number of deaths per 100,000 – a measurement to compare. right now what matters is that we’re at 30.5/100,000. in 2018, we were 31. remember 2018?
the next thing the update looks at is the location of death. this is one thing where the vancouver region is really different from other parts of the province.
the red slice in the two pie charts is for supportive/social/SRO housing.
Private Residence – includes driveways garages, trailer homes and either decedent’s own or another’s residence.
Other Residence – includes hotels, motels, rooming houses, SRO (single room occupancy, shelters, social/supportive housing etc.)
Medical facility – includes hospitals, community care facilities, etc
Occupational site – includes locations where the decedent was at their place of work.
Public buildings – includes restaurants, community centres, businesses, clinics, etc.
Outside – includes vehcles, streets, sidewalks, parking lots, public parks, wooded areas, and campgrounds
so, there were DOUBLE the % of overdose deaths in supportive, social, SRO, and hotels, shelters etc in the VCH region than province-wide! Doesn’t that seem like something that could be directly addressed? Instead, operators lie to the public and to funders about “community” and “looking out for one another” and meanwhile abuse their staff who in turn abuse the residents. demolition by neglect.
And “meeting people where they’re at” or even “wrap-around supports” is obviously not identical single-resident units. when homeless people refuse to live in such housing, it is clearly a signal that the housing is not adequate.
if you are living in an encampment and managing ok, and use drugs, and prefer living to being dead, it’s the rational choice.
but obviously these are shitty choices.
just to make the shittiness clear, here’s the two articles from late last year about how no one even bothers to keep track of how many people die in vancouver’s supportive housing, numbers are going up, an its super fucked up.
No one is monitoring Deaths in Supportive Housing – Travis Lupick, Georgia Straight, Dec 2019
“If it were daycares or hospitals or prisons, and if there were one or two or three deaths, we would have reached a stage that triggered an investigation,” Gagnon argued. “People are dying in these spaces, no one is doing anything about it. No one is even looking into it.”
Deaths Rise Amid Conflicting Rules – Travis Lupick, Georgia Straight
continuing on the housing problem (no one wanting to live in the housing/ everyone being dead)
as i’m finding, there isnt A Solution to this: there are many, and “the solution” is always for People to Have Real Choices, which is very simple and outrageously revolutionary at the same time. you should see the looks i get – i might change my name to WTF.
(also whenever someone who has any power at all says “this is how it is down here” – tells you to accept the unacceptable and get used to it – they are not On Your Side, and now you must fight even harder, often alone, because its real.)
on average, 20% – 40% of regular drug users prefer to / will only use alone: it’s their thing. should they be prioritized for safer supply access?low-income/supportive housing needs to have harm reduction built right into it – not be the same as ever, now! with naloxone.
harm remains a feature of operation: how power is deployed when someone has even a tiny bit.such housing must have using rooms, units for couples, units for street families, drug checking and dealers.
housing that acknowledges that drug users exist, in design and policy.formal accountability structures and a complaint process THAT IS DOCUMENTED, and collaborative management between operators and residents. resident committees. yeah low-income co-ops and resident self-management
did you know that not everything needs to become a total clusterdumpsterfire before you can try to fix it? or do something else?
we must dump this idea that 100% shelter rate is only housing worth working for. i would very much prefer to live in the world. what do you think? people out there have often never met people like any of us. i have found that if you give them a chance, most of the time everyone is surprised. and frankly we’re not going to change things any other way.
its like we’ve been behind a wall for 20 years.
the next part of the coroner’s report is on the day/week when the most overdose events occur. let’s talk about what to do about cheque week.this chart is of deaths per day for the province – cheque day is the same day everywhere, but the supply is local. or in transit, from one market to others. as you can see, cheque day seems to be starting to look like other days by the end of 2019 – or was it?
it definitely was not.
the peaks in the lines are cheque week. this chart is of 911 calls for ODs.in 2019, deaths were down by 1/3. calls for serious overdoses were almost exactly the same. as ive said before, it was the changing supply – the benzos. people were very messed up and some will never be ok, but they didnt die.
in the last three months, calls have increased dramatically.
from the gov’t release:
“Paramedics are responding to and reviving overdose patients about 80 times a day, every single day in B.C.,” said Jon Deakin, paramedic practice leader with BCEHS. “It’s a lot. It’s the highest number of daily overdoses BCEHS has ever seen.”
This graph is from the BCCDC – the blue line at the top represents 911 calls throughout the province and the five line nearer the bottom represent the five health regions.
Oh here’s a chart of the % of benzo content in the local down, week by week, since january.
here are those two charts on top of each other. the blue Xs are cheque week.
we can’t have cheque day, or cheque week like this anymore. we don’t have time for another study to find out if people who use drugs prefer being alive. also, fuck the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use and their useless exploitative ‘research’.
we can’t allow the government to continue dumping all the legit money on all the poor people in the province on the same day. when you think about it that way, it’s ridiculous.
so here’s my idea: what if you could decide yourself when and how you’d get your assistance on the regular? work it out, depending on what you want to be doing. twice a month, every week, twice a week, thirty bucks a day, whatever. keep cheque day if you’re lazy. yes, you must get a bank account. do you like getting ripped off? yes, we need our own bank, if pigeon bank isnt working out for you.
the point is for you to make choices for yourself – which is all i hear from people everyday, that’s all they want.
this is the only way that i can imagine that would break this fucked up cycle for real. what do people think?