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Purple ribbons pay tribute to loved ones lost to overdose

There’s a very good reason why purple ribbons are tied to telephone poles and street lights around Powell River.

Not only do they remember loved ones lost to overdose, they’re also helping to promote International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st.

Darlana Treloar, whose 27-year-old son, Sean, died four years ago from a fentanyl overdose, notes that look closer and you’ll see a photo, and a story of someone who died of a drug overdose.

The overdose crisis is taking lives at an alarming rate in B.C.

The 851 lives lost between January and May marked the most ever reported in the first five months of a calendar year, passing the 704 deaths reported in 2017 by almost 21 percent.

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In B.C., the ongoing overdose crisis marked its fifth year since the Public Health Emergency was declared in April of 2016.

The crisis has claimed more than 7,596 lives in B.C.

Illicit drugs have been the leading major cause of unnatural deaths in B.C., since surpassing suicide in 2015.

“There is no room for stigma in a matter of human rights and right to life,” shared Powell River CAT Coordinator Kathryn Colby, who has been working alongside the community on these issues for nearly three years.

“This emergency becomes more dire every day that the province doesn’t take action. We are losing fathers, mothers and youth as young as 12 in this province as even recreational use becomes more risky. We have seen COVID-19 response and safety protocols be rolled out quickly and effectively, and we have to wonder why, even with overwhelming fatalities, our health emergency isn’t on the docket for the same level of action.”

Vancouver Coastal Health reports 45.7 per 100,000 people for the illicit drug toxicity death rate for the first six months of 2021.

By Local Health Area, the highest rate was in Powell River of the qathet region.

This follows an upwards trend of drug overdose deaths in the region.

The rates for 2020 and 2016 respectively were 39.3 and 23.3.

Memorial March on Monday

On Tuesday, you’re invited to take part in a peaceful march starting at City Hall at 5:30 p-m.

The march will go along Marine Avenue to the MLA’s office for a demonstration.

The event will end at Willingdon’s Beach’s upper lot for Naloxone training, a memorial table, candlelight vigil, pizza, and refreshments.

If you’ve lost someone to overdose, you can bring their photo to be placed on the memorial table.

This event is hosted by MomsStopTheHarm Powell River, Sustain Powell River, and the Powell River Community Action Team.

You can connect to the Facebook page here.

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