A firefighter taking a patient's blood pressure

Twenty-six suspected overdose deaths in Vancouver in September

City's ongoing partnership with Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council (MVAEC) aims to improve opioid response strategy amongst Indigenous communities

October 5 2018 –

In September, 26 people lost their lives to a suspected overdose in Vancouver. This follows last week's report by BC Coroners Service confirming that there were 25 suspected overdose deaths in August.

Overdose crisis in Indigenous communities

The recently released 2018 BC Overdose Action Exchange report PDF file (7.5 MB) External website emphasized the impacts of the overdose crisis on Indigenous communities, as a part of the larger impacts of colonization, and calls for Indigenous-led strategies to respond to the crisis that are informed by the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

The City continues to be concerned about the effects of the overdose crisis on Indigenous communities in Vancouver.

Supporting MVAEC

As a City of Reconciliation, we continue to support the leadership of Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council (MVAEC) in promoting a comprehensive approach to the crisis which is devastating lives across the city.

MVAEC's Urban Indigenous Opioid Task Force includes over 150 representatives, serving 70,000 urban Indigenous people living in the region.

Key recommendations

Created in response to the overrepresentation of Indigenous people experiencing overdoses, the task force has four key recommendations:

  • Supporting integrated care, Indigenous wellness centres, and wrap around services approach
  • Removing jurisdictional barriers between health authorities
  • Increasing access and reduce waitlists for existing services
  • Supporting Culture as Treatment interventions and cultural humility practices - key to successful prevention and treatment

Promoting a health and wellness approach to substance use is a key priority for the City to reduce stigma and increase access to services, housing and employment.

The City is committed to continuing to work with partners, including Vancouver Coastal Health and the Vancouver Community Action Team, First Nations Health Authority, Indigenous agencies, Elders, peers, and community first responders, to link solutions to root causes, such as trauma.

See what the City is doing to respond to the crisis.

Read about what the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council Task Force is doingExternal website

BC Coroners Service's report

Toxicology reports on the most recent deaths are not yet complete, and final overdose death numbers need to be confirmed by the BC Coroners Service.

Read the BC Coroners Services' report on Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC, January 1, 2008 to August 31, 2018 PDF file (520 KB) External website