B.C.’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe (Black Press files)

Scare tactics aren’t the answer for overdose crisis, B.C.’s chief coroner says

Lisa Lapointe urges caution in response to B.C. funeral chain’s ‘visual’ fentanyl prevention campaign

B.C.’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says scare tacticts are not effective when it comes to combating the overdose crisis, following the launch of a “very visual” fentanyl prevention program by a B.C. funeral chain.

On Thursday, Metro-Vancouver-based Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services kicked off the campaign, with owner Tyrel Burton described as using “powerful, perhaps even controversial, visual aids” to talk about the dangers of fentanyl.

In addition to a 45-minute video – which the funeral chain said would include members of the BC Coroners, first responders and parents effected by the crisis, the campaign also includes a poster of grieving family members surrounding a coffin. Underneath the photo, a banner reads: “Will fentanyl be the reason for your next family get-together?”

READ MORE: Funeral chain creates visual campaign to show dangers of fentanyl

READ MORE: Carfentanil detected in 37 deaths between June and September

In a written statement on the B.C. government’s website, Lapointe said that while public education and awareness is important, “the BC Coroners Service does not endorse, and will not be participating in, fear-based initiatives.”

“Evidence suggests that the reasons for drug use are complex and multifaceted, and programs focused on scaring people from using drugs, are not effective in saving lives,” she said.

“Additionally, they tend to increase the stigma surrounding drug use and actually discourage people from seeking help – an obsolete approach that has led to the loss of countless lives.”

Lapointe also urges caution and strategy when awareness campaigns rely on image use, and points to research from several academic studies that suggest mass media campaigns and public service announcements showed no evidence of effectiveness for substance use prevention.

“In the United States, the ‘Just Say No’ and D.A.R.E. campaigns produced poor results,” Lapointe said, and that a 2008 follow-up study on the $1-billion campaign found it had no positive effects on youth and may have prompted some to actually experiment with substance use.

“The experiences and life situations of people who use drugs, as well as the physiological changes they experience, means they might not be ready or able to engage with the overdose prevention strategies suggested in the some of the ads that currently exist,” she said.

“We need to be aware of peoples’ realities and be realistic about what change they are capable of for the stage they are at in their lives. In the long run, compassion and support, including prescribed medical treatment where appropriate, will be much more effective in turning this crisis around than fear and shame.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island under a thunderstorm watch tonight

Environment Canada forecasts downpour and possible thunder and lightning

UPDATE: Hundreds march against location of safe injection site in Duncan

A Voice for Our Children opposes centre being near schools, recreation sites

No new leads in Brown homicide case

Five-year mark passes without any additional information provided to police

Work progresses on Clement Centre’s new building in Cobble Hill

Sod-turning ceremony for facility held on Sept. 21

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

Most Read