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Letter: Burnaby needs more services to slow toxic drug deaths

Deaths rising in Burnaby
To help save lives and prevent overdose deaths, take-home naloxone kits are now available at community pharmacies throughout British Columbia, free to people who use opioids or are likely to witness an overdose. Photograph By CONTRIBUTED/MINISTRY OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS


Re: City having deadly year for overdoses, NOW news

With B.C. and Burnaby’s overdose death numbers at a record high, many people are arguing for safe injection sites, decriminalization of illicit drug possession, and a shift in law-enforcement surrounding drugs.

The article “City having deadly year for overdoses” by Jess Balzer calls attention to this need, highlighting the significant increase in overdose deaths in BC in the last decade, specifically within Burnaby. Balzer highlights that as of November 9, there were 58 overdose deaths in Burnaby in 2021, the highest number year-to-date so far in the city. 

While the need for safe injection sites cannot be overstated, Burnaby also needs more abstinence-based addiction treatment beds to help people find recovery and lasting freedom from substance abuse. Treatment facilities like Charlford House Society for Women show addicts that recovery is possible and have a lasting positive impact on the community for generations to come.

Charlford House was the first women’s addiction treatment centre in BC 51 years ago, and is still the only women’s treatment centre in Burnaby. In BC, there are still significantly less beds for women at addiction treatment facilities than there are for men. In BC’s approach to the overdose crisis, it is imperative we advocate for an increase in the number of treatment facilities in BC, especially for women, who are underserved in this area.

At Charlford House, we help women recover and reunite with their families and children through our 12-step based programming. We have been serving the community of Burnaby for 51 years and aim to increase the number of beds available to women in BC by expanding from 15 to 24 beds when we build our Forever Home. To help make this dream a reality, donate to Charlford House:

Vivian Gietz is Executive Assistant with Charlford House Society for Women in Burnaby.