Data reveal First Nations in B.C. three times more likely to fatally overdose

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VANCOUVER - Data released by provincial officials suggest First Nations people in British Columbia are three time more likely to die of illicit drug overdoses.

It's the first time the information has been released in B.C., but it's a year old because of various steps involved in making it public.

The First Nations Health Authority also says Indigenous people are five times more likely than others to experience non-fatal overdoses.

It says First Nations people are over-represented in British Columbia's overdose crisis, which claimed nearly 1,000 people last year and that trauma, racism and stigma are part of the problem.

Dr. Shannon McDonald, the health authority's deputy chief medical officer, says more First Nations women fatally overdosed compared with their non-First Nations counterparts because of their "unspeakable experiences" as young girls.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy says the preliminary data will be used to identify actions that will best support First Nations communities.

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