Release Overdose Death Numbers As They Become Available

Release Overdose Death Numbers As They Become Available

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My name is Carina Stone. My husband Michael Stone, a prominent teacher of Buddhism and yoga died in 2017 from fentanyl poisoning after a lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder. He is only one number in a long stream of mental health tragedies in this province. He was a public figure, his death was noted by media and culture and many people grieved and still do. And, he is no more missed than every other child, partner, parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent who are dying every day in this province due to overdose. The difference is his death was visible on a larger scale than many, we saw his face in the paper or online. Our story, his story, was "news". 

I am asking Dr. Bonnie Henry to release the overdose numbers as they become available from the coroner's office instead of as a monthly sum.

I am struck by British Columbia's response to the covid pandemic. How it's been managed, for one, but also our public process of grieving the deaths, reaching our hearts out to families who've lost loved ones. Each death is accounted for publicly in a press conference, each number is cause for alarm, process, response. Just a number, but learning in "real time" is humanizing.

Dr. Bonnie Henry has expressed grief over the climbing overdose deaths due to covid. People using alone, people under extra stress and increased isolation. People are dying far more than from covid in this province. 

We are getting frequent press conference updates with death tolls and current number of folks infected with coronavirus. My request is simple. Dr. Bonnie Henry, please use your platform to help work towards undoing the stigma and update us on accruing overdose numbers. This could happen alongside covid number releases. These deaths need to become visible. 

That would be demonstrating to this province that these lives are precious and valued.

My heart goes out to every family grieving right now.