A three-storey banner has been put up on the front of Our Place Society in response to B.C.’s toxic drug crisis.
The banner was installed Wednesday (Feb. 15) and says “we lost a family member today. We remember all those who have died of overdose and toxic drugs.”
“We were trying to think of a way to talk about how these people are not just statistics,” board chair Margo Goodhand said. “We just want to make sure that people are aware that this is happening. I hope this banner will mean something to everyone who goes past it.”
The BC Coroners’ Service announced on Jan. 31 that 2022 was the second deadliest year of the province’s toxic drug crisis on record.
The results showed that 2,272 people died from poisoned drugs last year, which was 34 deaths less than 2021’s record.
“The numbers are staggering,” Goodhand said. “The trauma out there is enormous. We just need to give people a sense of community and a sense of hope.”
Greater Victoria saw the third-highest number of toxic drug deaths of any B.C. township in 2022, with 157 lives lost.
“It’s happening to our friends, our neighbours and our family members,” Goodhand added.
The banner was designed by Grant McKenzie, Our Place’s director of communications.
“We wanted to really make a statement that we’re losing people that we care about,” McKenzie said. “There are so many people out in the community who have lost loved ones. We need a clean supply, and we need it to be part of a program. We need it to be part of getting people into recovery.”