- Yukon’s Coroner’s Service says the territory’s overdose rate per capita is the highest in Canada, with 48.4 deaths per 100,000 people.
- Since the ongoing COVID-19 in March 2020, 32 drug overdose deaths happened in Yukon, and all but one were related to fentanyl, a powerful opioid for a few Canadian overdoses.
Yukon’s Coroner’s Service says the territory’s overdose rate per capita is the highest in Canada, with 48.4 deaths per 100,000 people.
Yukon chief coroner says opioid fatalities now represent over 20 percent of all deaths investigated between January and November 26.
Jones said in a news release the deaths might be seen as a medical crisis.
Since the ongoing COVID-19 in March 2020, Jones says 32 drug overdose deaths happened in Yukon, and all but one were related to fentanyl, a powerful opioid for a few Canadian overdoses.
Since the overdose crisis began in 2016, Jones says BC has consistently led the country with the highest rates of opioid deaths. Still, present data indicate Yukon has over-crossed those figures.
Jones says many people are dying alone in their homes, and she warns that naloxone is becoming less effective against the “increasing toxicity of the drugs.”
The service says it doesn’t collect race-specific information, but Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill says she believes First Nations people are “disproportionately affected.”
“It’s no longer a crisis. It’s an emergency,” she said in an interview. “We need more resources, and we need the federal government to step in to help us.”
She says she’s calling on the government to “put all hands on deck” and review the Yukon government’s opioid strategy to identify and fill the current gaps in service.
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“We, as leaders, have to come together and talk to find a solution because this can’t keep going this way. We’re losing too many good people.”
She says the safe consumption site in Whitehorse that opened in September should have Indigenous-specific cultural support available.
“It’s already difficult enough for vulnerable Indigenous people to make use of services and programs that are out there, and a lot of it stems back to residential schools, among other things, so we must have the proper cultural supports in place for our people.”
Ontario gave a report last week that found its illicit overdose death rate for Indigenous people doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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