Surge in Vancouver drug deaths prompts Catholic response

After hundreds of lethal drug overdoses in British Columbia in the last year, the Archbishop of Vancouver has said Catholics must act to help those addicted to opioids and other drugs.

The “scourge” of drug overdoses is a chance for Catholics “to see the face of Jesus in those who suffer and are tragically claimed by lethal drug overdoses,” Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver said in a Feb. 16 letter to the faithful of his archdiocese.

Catholic hospitals are particularly affected. St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver alone treated 42 overdoses between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The archbishop acknowledged the impact treating these cases have on medical center staff and personnel. “The toll is especially brutal on first responders who find themselves physically and mentally exhausted by their exceptionally difficult job,” he said.

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