Indigenous young people who use drugs in BC 13 times more likely to die (Cedar Project)

Indigenous young people in British Columbia who use drugs are 13 times more likely to die than other young people of the same age, and young women and people who use drugs are even more likely to die, according to research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

“This study shows that young Indigenous people in BC who use drugs are dying at an alarmingly high rate, especially young women, who die almost twice as often as young men,” says Mary Teegee, Executive Director of Child & Family Services at Carrier Sekani Family Services and Chair of The Cedar Project Partnership. “These deaths are catastrophic for our families and for our communities.”

A team of researchers, including Indigenous leaders and Elders who are part of The Cedar Project Partnership, looked at data on 610 young Indigenous people aged 14-30 years who used drugs in Vancouver and Prince George, BC, on Coast Salish and Lheidli T’enneh territories, respectively. Forty young people died between 2003 and 2014, and deaths of young women were almost double that of men.

Victoria Ritter reports

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