Friday, 21 September, 2018

161 people died of illicit drug overdose in BC in March

161 people died of illicit drug overdose in BC in March 161 people died of illicit drug overdose in BC in March
Melissa Porter | 11 May, 2018, 18:59

The number of suspected drug overdose deaths in the province continues to rise.

The three townships seeing the highest number of deaths remain Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria where lives claimed have reached 102, 55 and 34 respectively.

Preliminary data shows fentanyl was detected in more than 80 per cent of deaths in the first three months of 2018.

The highest number of deaths attributed to an illicit drug overdose was 162 in December 2016.

Overall, The B.C. Coroners Service reported 161 suspected overdose deaths, an increase of 24 per cent compared to the year prior, making it the second highest monthly total to date.

The figures for March are 58 per cent higher than February's total of 102 suspected deaths from illicit drugs and 24 per cent higher than the same month previous year.

The majority of decedents died indoors (90.5%).

About eight in 10 of the 391 deaths between January and March were due to the illicit versions of the painkiller fentanyl, according to toxicology reports by the coroners service. The coroners' service also noted that no deaths have been reported at supervised consumption sites or drug overdose prevention sites.

So far this year, 13 people have died of an illicit drug overdose in Kelowna, 12 in Kamloops and seven in Vernon.

Vancouver leads the province in both statistical categories with 102 people that have died from the suspected use of illicit drugs, for a rate of 59.6.

People aged 19 to 39 makeup the largest demographic of British Columbians dying from overdose deaths - or 188 people.

"Those using chemicals should have somebody nearby trained and equipped Happens", it stated in the discharge.