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B.C. mother to run across province, hold rallies on overdose crisis after son's death


A Victoria woman whose son died of a toxic drug overdose last year will be running across the province this spring calling for a faster response from the province and to connect local community members with resources.

After Jessica Michalofsky’s son, Aubrey, died last year, the island mom decided to run daily marathons around the B.C. Ministry of Health building in Victoria to call on the province to regulate the illicit drug supply and providing more resources and education to families.

Michalofsky ended up running more than 900 kilometres around the building through a series of marathons, and now she plans on running from Nelson, B.C., back to Victoria this spring.

Along the way, Michalofsky and other advocates plan on making stops in small communities to hold rallies and raise awareness about the crisis, particularly in rural communities which often lack access to crucial services, according to the Victoria woman.

"Our message is that toxic drug death is preventable. Our rallies will connect people to resources and raise awareness among families about the danger of toxic drugs," she said in a release Tuesday.

Michalofsky says that while her earlier marathons around the ministry of health building were directed at the provincial government, her upcoming run will be about connecting with community members, like people who use drugs, young people and their families.

"To battle systemic stigma, we need access to information, and we need to band together," she said. "If the government is slow to act, we will step in and help ourselves."

In 2022, B.C. recorded 2,272 illicit drug deaths, averaging more than six deaths per day.

Of that total, people aged 30 to 59 represented 70 per cent.

"I am so sorry – their lives mattered, and their deaths are our collective loss," said B.C. chief coroner Lisa Lapointe on Jan. 31.

"Drug toxicity remains the leading cause of unnatural deaths in B.C., significantly surpassing the number of fatalities linked to self-harm, motor vehicle accidents and homicide combined."

Michalofsky is planning the "Aubrey’s Run across BC to End Toxic Drug" for May and June of this year.

With files form CTV News Vancouver's Becca Clarkson Top Stories

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