A record 699 people died of overdoses from January through December in 2020, according to a new report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. This number may seem surprising amid the global COVID-19 pandemic when San Francisco has shuttered schools and businesses to prevent deaths. In S.F., 235 people passed away from complications of the coronavirus in 2020.
The infectious diseases doctor, with a background in public health, is on the front line of a Canadian health crisis.
It’s not COVID-19.
It’s the toxic drug supply; an epidemic within the pandemic. Never before in the history of this country have more people died from drug overdoses. It’s a health emergency that is being fuelled by the pandemic.
The very measures that are meant to keep us safe from the virus are having unintended consequences on those struggling with addiction and mental illness. Lockdowns mean isolation, lost jobs, and difficulty accessing services. The shutdown of the Canada-U.S. border has disrupted the illegal drug supply, so what is on the street is more contaminated than ever, as dealers mix in other ingredients to stretch their supply.