The rise of overdoses is a problem that affects all of us, in every community

On International Overdose Awareness Day, DIVERSEcity’s Substance Use Services calls to end the stigma on drug overdoses

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. In BC, there have been 1,455 deaths in 2023 from January to July so far. That’s the most ever reported for the first seven months of the year since 2016, when a public health emergency over drug poisoning deaths in the province was declared.

Almost 200 people died in July 2023 alone.

Toxic drug supply is the leading cause of death in BC for people 10–59, more deaths than homicides, suicides, accidents and natural diseases combined, according to the BC Coroner’s Service.

This year’s international theme is “Recognizing those people who go unseen.” In fact, most fatal overdoses are happening among people using alone in their homes. This is a problem that affects all of us, in every community. It’s time to end the stigma.

DIVERSEcity Substance Use Counselling

At DIVERSEcity, we offer one-on-one and group-based Substance Use Counselling, in English and Punjabi.

“Attending substance use groups not only helped me to cope with my substance use in a healthy way, but the healthy communication skills learned during the sessions improved my relationship with my spouse immensely,” says one of our clients.

We are currently accepting referrals. Learn more here.

Recognizing the signs of overdose and what to do

We also encourage everyone to learn to recognize the signs of overdose and steps on how to save a life.

Here’s an informational video from BC Centre for Disease Control’s Harm Reduction Program on how to spot those signs and how to use Naloxone.

If you think someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911.

Find more resources on their website at