• Capital Daily
  • Posts
  • March 2 - Toxic drug deaths still BC’s leading cause of unnatural death

March 2 - Toxic drug deaths still BC’s leading cause of unnatural death

Plus, a severed porpoise tail found along Dallas

Good morning !

There’s been a spate of tragic road collisions leaving people hurt and people dead. This is a slippery, dark time of the year for driving. Just a gentle reminder to drive with caution.


Today’s approx. read time: 5 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: 🌧️ 8 / 2

Tomorrow: 🌧️ 7 / 3

Monday: 🌥️ 8 / 0


39 Islanders died from toxic drugs in January

Graphic: BC Coroners Service

BC lost 198 people in January—an average of six per day—including 9 Victorians, 19 from the Central Island, and 11 from the North Island. It was BC's first month since last September with under 200 deaths, dipping 10% from the previous month and 14% from Jan. 2023. Still, it represents double the death rate of April 2016, when the health emergency began. 

For the first time in months, Victoria was not with Vancouver and Surrey in BC's top three townships for deaths. It was surpassed by Nanaimo, which lost 13 people. The central and north Island were also in the five hardest-hit regions.

Fentanyl was linked to 76% of toxic drug deaths, a drop from previous months’ 85%. The Jan. data release stressed that the Coroners Service has seen no indication that safer supply is contributing to toxic drug deaths, with hydromorphone only detected in 3% of post-mortem testing. 

BC grapples with its leading cause of unnatural death

BC’s 2024 budget includes $117M for mental-health and substance-use services, including supervised consumption sites, safer supply (which eventually could expand to include alternative substances such as fentanyl and heroin), and drug-checking services.

At the same time, tightened legislation on where drugs can be used could push people who use further indoors—where the majority of toxic drug deaths in 2023 took place. This legislation was blocked late last year when the Harm Reduction Nurses Association challenged the act’s constitutionality. That block will expire at the end of this month.

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Cultural Infrastructure Grant call for applications. City of Vic.

Demonstration downtown today at 1pm. Expect traffic disruptions.

Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


Another pedestrian killed, in Friday crash on Hillside

The block from Douglas to Blanshard was closed for several hours after a crash around noon. A Ram truck with a bag of cans trapped under it was photographed by Black Press

Friday road fatality comes after two on Thursday
A pedestrian was killed on Sooke Road and a young driver was killed on the Malahat near Mill Bay. Those crashes remain under investigation, and the second victim has now been identified as Grade 12 student Kieran Harper. A GoFundMe was launched to support his mother. 

Two Nanaimo-area pedestrians also hit in the past week
One woman was airlifted to Victoria with life-threatening injuries on Tues. after being hit in the dark. The other, aged 90, was killed by a Sat. hit-and-run. RCMP seized a vehicle on Wed. that may be connected.


Greater Victoria Sports Awards are back again

Basketball star Diego Maffia and HarbourCats managing partner Jim Swanson at GVSA. Photo: Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission

After a long hiatus, the awards feting the city’s elite athletes, teams, and coaches returned for the second year Thursday night with sold-out festivities at Government House. Sponsored by the Victoria Foundation, the Greater Victoria Sports Awards were an annual fixture on the Victoria sports calendar between 1968 and 2006, but volunteer fatigue forced their cancellation.

“The volunteers aged out, and there was no one there to pick up the pieces and continue this event,” Keith Wells, the executive director of the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission, told Capital Daily.

“We thought it was a great initiative to attempt to bring this event back and with sponsored help, and Destination Greater Victoria kind of backing everything, we spun it up, it was a great success again [Thur] night.” The event returned last year, and with the success of this year’s, organizers are confident it’ll be again a yearly thing.

Cyclist Mel Pemble, who won gold and silver medals at the 2023 Para Pan American Games in Chile and is expected to compete in this summer’s Paris Paralympics, was named Female Athlete of the Year. 

UVic guard Diego Maffia, who leads Canadian university basketball in scoring, was named Male Athlete of the Year.

The Jacques Gauthier rink out of the Victoria Curling Club, BC's current Brier team, was named Team of the Year.


Virtual Bondage, new play reading at the Belfry

On March 8 and 9, the Belfry will host a free reading of Thembelihile Moyo's new play, Virtual Bondage.

In the digital realm of modern romance, Yoliswa, a vibrant Black immigrant woman, navigates the complexities of online dating in Canada.

Enter Frederick, a charming white Canadian man, whose profile sparks a virtual connection with Yoliswa. As they embark on a journey of digital courtship, they confront cultural nuances, societal expectations, and personal biases.

Through heartfelt messages and virtual dates, Yoliswa and Frederick challenge stereotypes and embrace the beauty of love in a multicultural society, proving that their connection knows no boundaries.

This is a FREE EVENT, but ticket reservations are still required.

⭐️ Capital Picks

🏆️ Tasting Victoria Best Restaurant Awards: The voting phase is now open. Vote for your favourite eateries in each of the 18 categories. Vote now!

🕺 Dance Victoria presents Nrityagram Dance Ensemble in collaboration with Chitrasena Dance Company at the Royal Theatre on March 8 + 9. Learn more here.*

💗 Help Oliver’s family. GoFundMe page.

🧑‍⚖️ Protect your rights and dispute your driving prohibition with the help of a knowledgeable lawyer. Contact Acumen Law Corporation today to start your defence.*

🤝 Now hiring: Out of School Care Coordinator at Fernwood NRG.

Sponsored Listing

🗞️ In Other News

Severed porpoise tail washes up along Dallas Road shoreline
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is sending a response team, but the preliminary theory is the tail belonged to a harbour porpoise that was either attacked by a Bigg’s killer whale or clipped by a ship’s propellor. Harbour porpoises are considered a species at risk. [CHEK]

Expanding killer whale foraging areas may hurt Port Renfrew
Speaking of orcas, the federal fisheries ministry has a proposal to preserve the endangered southern residents' preferred meal—chinook salmon—by closing areas to fishing by humans. But that could bring Renfrew fewer visits from anglers, which the southwest Island town relies on. [Times Colonist]

Oak Bay and yacht club team up to remove derelict boat
Yacht club workers tried to remove it from the Cadboro Bay marina, but it became beached. The vessel fell under federal jurisdiction, prompting a two-month bureaucratic delay. After Oak Bay Parks pleaded with Transport Canada, the boat was finally taken away on Thursday for disposal. [Oak Bay News]

Read Capital Daily's feature on the derelict boats of Cadboro.

🗓️ Things to do

🎭 Something Rotten!: St. Michaels University School Students will perform the musical farce at McPherson Playhouse. Tonight. 7:30pm.

🍻 Victoria Beer Week: The craft beer festival is back for its 10th year, with plenty of brews to try and breweries to tour. Through Mar. 9.

🎶 Ocie Elliot: The local Juno-nominated folk duo will perform a two-night stint. Royal Theatre. Tonight. 8pm.

🏃Victoria Women’s Expo: Check out 100+ vendors at this women’s expo. Today and tomorrow. 10am-5pm. [Info

💽 South Island Vinyl Record Show: Collect vinyl records, cassettes, and CDs at Mary Winspear Centre. Today. 10am-4pm.

🎤 Kxllswxtch: The American rapper and singer will perform at Capital Ballroom. Today. Doors 8pm. Show 9pm.

📺 The Office-themed trivia night: Test your knowledge on the hit TV show. The Mint. Tonight. 7pm.

🎸 The Pretzel Logic Orchestra: The jazz and funk rock group will perform the music of Steely Dan. Hermann’s Jazz. Today. Doors 5:30pm. Show 7pm.

🎥 Poor Things at Cinecenta: The award-winning twist on Frankenstein is on at the UVic theatre. Today. 2pm, 4:45pm, and 7:20pm.

🎻 Songs of Love and War: For the Pacific Baroque Festival, music from Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals. Alix Goolden hall. 7:30pm tonight.  

🎹 Bruce Vogt: The UVic pianist plays his final concert at the university’s School of Music at Phillip T. Young Recital Hall. Tonight. 8pm.

💈The Marriage of Figaro premieres April 3rd at The Royal. With lush orchestration and complex love stories, this opera is quickly selling out! Tickets from $30.*

*Sponsored Listing

👀 In Case You Missed It

Six-year-old Victoria boy dies in BC foster care. [Capital Daily]

Friday’s headlines: Native housing society buys Esquimalt apt; Tragedy on the TCH; Lots of vacancies in Vic offices; and more. [Mar. 1]

Brian Mulroney: RIP former Canadian PM. [NPR]

Battle at the shore: See orcas hunt sea lions near Qualicum Beach. [Facebook video]

That’s it!

If you found something useful, consider forwarding this newsletter to a fellow Victorian.

And before you go, let us know:

What did you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.