The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Analysis
  |  
Health
  |  
Rights + Justice

BC’s Five Years of Drug Failure, Visualized

The anniversary of the province’s overdose emergency declaration is nothing to celebrate.

Paul Willcocks 14 Apr 2021 | TheTyee.ca

Paul Willcocks is a journalist and former publisher of newspapers, and now an editor with The Tyee.

Five years ago today, British Columbia declared a public health emergency in response to rising overdose deaths. It was the first time in the province’s history the power was used.

“The recent surge in overdoses is a huge concern for us,” said then-health minister Terry Lake. “We have to do what’s needed to prevent overdoses and deaths.”

But in the last half decade, the BC Liberal and NDP governments have failed to do what’s needed in the face of an increasingly poisoned supply.

The circle at the top of this story is a graphic depiction of that failure. It’s made up of 6,853 dots. Each one represents a person who has lost their life since the emergency was declared. And, indirectly, represents family and friends devastated by the preventable death of someone they cared about.

851px version of PostEmergDeaths-2.jpg
A timeline of the worsening crisis. Each dot represents a month’s total fatalities. Graphic by Christopher Cheung.

The emergency declaration was announced in April 2016. That month, there were 72 deaths. The next year, the average monthly toll was 124. In 2018, it rose again to 129.

In 2019, there was some progress and average monthly deaths fell to 82 — still 14 per cent higher than when the emergency was declared and government pledged to do what was needed to end overdose deaths.

The pandemic brought increasingly poisoned drugs and greater vulnerability for people who used substances. Last year, on average, 144 people died each month — twice the number in the first month of the emergency.

Governments have defended their plans, promised more action, announced new initiatives.

But as activist and journalist Garth Mullins told The Tyee, the numbers don’t lie.

“There’s a very easy metric to see if your program is working, because it’s written in the coroner’s report.”  [Tyee]

Read more: Health, Rights + Justice

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Do not:

  •  Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully, threaten, name-call or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, downvote, or flag suspect activity
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities

Do:

  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls and flag violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Stay on topic
  • Connect with each other

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Are You Concerned about Rising Support for Canada’s Far-Right Parties?

Take this week's poll