Toxic Drug Analysis Shows Men Most Vulnerable in Interior Health in 2021 | Radio NL


According to Interior Health, working men are statistically most affected by toxic drug poisonings.

In 2021, there were 2,224 overdose deaths in the province, including 372 deaths that occurred in the Interior Health Authority.

“We have interior areas that are some of the hardest hit in the province and many of those areas are in and around Kamloops,” said Dr. Carole Fenton, Medical Officer of Health at Interior Health in Kamloops. .

IH says 80% of toxic drug poisonings were in men in 2021, which Fenton goes on to explain that men between the ages of 19-39 and 40-59 are most affected by toxic drug-related deaths.

“Almost half of those who died were gainfully employed and the largest proportion worked in the construction or transport and trades industries.”

However, she says it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact reason why this group, statistically, is the most affected by drug-related deaths.

“We know people are using for a variety of reasons, maybe people have chronic injuries that they self-medicate for their pain, they may not have access to mental health services or feel like they can or feel the stigma acting on these services.

According to IH, other factors linked to overdose deaths include trauma, mental health, pain, homelessness and unemployment.

“A lot of this data is hard to collect because naturally people don’t want to talk about drug use – and why they may or may not use or why they may or may not be at more risk, so it’s really hard to know” , Fenton added.

According to the BC Coroners Service, across the province, four out of five people who die of poisoning from toxic drugs are men, and about one in five have worked in trades, transportation and driving. equipment.

In a statement, it says provincial construction associations surveyed their members about substance use, with responses ranging from heightened expectations of masculinity and toughness to workplace culture, feelings of being undervalued and running out. He said some employees made reference to pain management.

Christina Cole, harm reduction coordinator for the Southern Interior Construction Associations, said in a statement that people who work in the trades industry – providing harm reduction resources is like providing a level of security additional.

“In construction, we have personal protective equipment like hard hats and safety glasses, fall protection, and if anything happens there’s first aid on site,” Cole explained. “We have to take that goal and bring it to substance use.”

In an effort to reduce stigma and work towards harm prevention, the Tailgate Toolkit was created in response to the increase in overdose deaths in the construction industry.

More details about the Tailgate Toolkit can be found here.

Meanwhile, in a live stream, Karen Goodison, who is medical officer of health at Interior Health, said that between 2011 and 2016 there was a significant increase in deaths related to toxic drugs, which caused the first declaration of a public health emergency.

“Urgent responses have been put in place and we are seeing that as we move forward into 2017 and 2018 the curve of deaths is flattening and actually turning around and starting to descend in 2019 indicating that the programs put in place such as a rapid expansion of the availability of take-home naloxone, overdose prevention services, the expansion of continuing care mental health services, etc., have all contributed to reducing the impact of the supply in toxic drugs.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way health authorities asked people to access services, which is why there was a significant increase in opioid-related deaths in 2020 and 2021.

“For COVID we were asking people to stay 6 feet apart but to protect against an overdose we were asking people to use with a buddy and have naloxone and help to protect someone in the event of an overdose,” Goodison added.


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