A number of local outreach groups in Langley are hoping that greater awareness of the overdose crisis in B.C. will help save more lives.
Friday, Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, and to mark the occasion, the Langley Community Overdose Response Committee, Langley Lookout Society and Kimz Angels are holding a barbecue at Friends Langley Vineyard Church, 5708 Glover Rd.
The public is invited to attend between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to enjoy a hot meal and learn more about the crisis and what can be done to help.
According to data from B.C. Coroners Service, as of July, 20 people in Langley have lost their lives to illicit drug overdoses in 2018. This continues a disturbing trend over the last two years that saw 36 people die in 2017, and 31 people in 2016. In 2015, 10 people lost their lives.
Across B.C., 878 people have had fatal overdoses in 2018 so far, compared to 1,450 in all of 2017.
Of those who have died this year, 81 per cent had fentanyl detected in them, 90 per cent were between the ages of 19 and 59 and 80 per cent were men.
International Overdose Awareness Day was first held in Melbourne, Australia in 2001 to commemorate those who have died from overdoses.
Each year, events are held around the world to “raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose,” according to overdoseday.com.
“International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.”
For more information on the Langley event, contact the Langley Community Overdose Response Committee through the @LangleyODR Facebook page.