Chief Coroner Heather Jones admits the past few months have been particularly trying.
” Dealing with deaths of children, people I know, grandchildren, while I’m also part of the community…Having that front row seat to see this tragedy, what it looks like, c is absolutely heartbreaking. »
While serving as Chief Coroner for the Yukon since December 2016, Heather Jones has worked for the service for more than 20 years, first as a Community Coroner and then as Acting Chief Coroner.
When she started at the top level, it had been a few months since the opioid crisis had started to creep into territory. In the South, British Columbia had declared a state of health emergency in the face of an increase in the number of fatal overdoses.
A turning point in 2020
Since April 2016, Heather Jones has seen 64 people succumb to opioids. As many deaths as she deems avoidable.
From 7 deaths in 2016 and 2017, the territory has risen to 23 in 2021 alone. For Heather Jones, the
turn of the crisis began to be felt in 2020, at the same time as the pandemic took hold.
That year, 10 people died, and according to Heather Jones, the profile of the victims changed.years old”,”text”:”Our average age has dropped to 32″}}’>Average age dropped to 32when he was 44 between 2016 and 2019.
Last year was the worst year to date, the one in which there was
a huge increase the number of deaths, explains the coroner. And the first six weeks of 2022 also worry the scientist. [de surdoses mortelles] represent 50% of all deaths we investigate since January.”,”text”:”It’s still early in the year, but these cases [de surdoses mortelles] account for 50% of all deaths we have been investigating since January.”}}’>It is still early in the year, but these cases [de surdoses mortelles] account for 50% of all deaths we have been investigating since January.
Here again, the profile is different: the average age has fallen to 30, and for the first time since 2016, women are more represented among the victims.
Heather Jones does not hide her concern, especially since, according to her, the drug which makes its way to the Yukon is more toxic lately, more and more benzodiazepines ending up in the supply.
Let go of judgments
She also hopes the stigma around opioids will change, but she thinks that’s still a long way off.
” As long as we continue to stigmatize or judge these people, we are also harming the grieving process of their loved ones. »
The Chief Coroner also believes waiving judgments could help those who survive opioid overdoses by making it easier for them to seek help.
Despite the tragedies, the declaration of a state of health emergency, however, gives him hope that the Yukon will find solutions. She cites the provision of safe substances and even a move towards the decriminalization of small amounts of drugs for people who are addicted.
We tend to be unique in the way we live and function here. I hope we can find a unique way to turn things around.
In addition, according to her, the whole community must get involved, because everyone is affected by the crisis.
We really need to get involved to take care of each other in this situation and help each other, especially those who are in danger.