Mid-Island medical health officer Dr. Paul Hasselback says the Alberni Valley still leads the rest of BC in drug and alcohol related illnesses and deaths.
He said there has been a surge in fentanyl-related deaths in the Alberni – Clayoquot region, with 12 fatalities in the past 18 months
But Hasselback says the introduction of safe use sites, sobering centers, and other community initiatives has made Port Alberni a model for harm-reduction
Hasselback says Alberni has the lowest life expectancy on the island of 79 years, compared to 82 years elsewhere, but he says it is getting better.
He said a local area drug and alcohol plan could help streamline local services and reduce the number of drug and alcohol related deaths in the region.
Hasselback said they’re seeing better educational outcomes in Port Alberni, but still the highest serious crime rate on the island.