Coroner moved to tears by B.C. band's song she says speaks to the heart of overdose crisis

·2 min read

When B.C. coroner Susan Barth first heard the song Comforts That Kill performed by Kelowna groove rock band The Carbons, she wept.

Barth, who is based in Kelowna, works on the front lines of the province's opioid crisis and has been a member of the Drug Death Investigation Team that looks into and documents each overdose death. She said the song captured something she has felt over the course of her work, but could never succinctly put into words.

Lyrics include such lines as, "Comforts that kill, a poison pill. Powders through a dollar bill. Comforts that kill, I can't sit still. This ghost haunts me against my will."

The song was co-written with two of the members from the Nova Scotia band The Trews and, according to the band's website, was released in September 2019.

Barth heard the song recently and then reached out to CBC's The Early Edition to say how much she appreciated the song's lyrics and sentiment.

CBC producer Jodie Martinson then called The Carbons lead singer, guitar player and songwriter Tomy Thisdale to hear how he felt knowing the song made such an impact.

"That's really beautiful," said Thisdale, for whom the subject matter is deeply personal.

Thisdale said he grew up with addiction around him, starting at such a young age he didn't even know yet what it was.

Now, he said, his understanding of it has evolved and he believes people struggling with substance use are searching for comfort, safety and love.

"If somebody feels loved, and unconditionally so, then they are much less likely to dive into unhealthy habits," said Thisdale.

According to the BC Coroners' Service, B.C. recorded 127 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in September, pushing the province's death total for the first nine months of the year past 1,200.

Tap here to listen toTomy Thisdale speak with CBC's Jodie Martinson on The Early Edition.