ibusinesslines.com August 19, 2018

91 percent of fatal overdoses in Northern BC involved fentanyl

12 May 2018, 12:30 | Melissa Porter

161 overdose deaths make March 2nd-deadliest month in BC history

Overdose deaths were near record high in March

That's nearly as high as the 162 people who died in December 2016, the highest monthly total since the coroners service began collecting statistics.

Statistics show a low of 43 illicit-drug overdose deaths in the first quarter of 2008, increasing through the years to 89 in 2014, 104 in 2015, 221 in 2016 and 400 in 2017. Seventy per cent of those who died were between 19 and 49 years old.

Despite the efforts, however, overdose deaths in 2018 are on par with record numbers seen previous year, when 400 people died between January and the end of March.

The majority (90.5 per cent) of overdose deaths occurred indoors.

Preliminary data indicates that 161 B.C. residents died of a drug overdose in March, a jump of 59 compared to February.

The B.C. Coroners Service report released this week looks at overdose deaths and those linked to fentanyl and notes there were 18 in the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap region where toxicology tests have shown the presence of the fentanyl.

The overdose death rate in Northern B.C. surged in March after trailing the rest of the province.

The City of Vancouver has seen 102 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths so far in 2018, an average of 34 per month, which is up from the 2017 average of 30.5 per month. The week spanning April 23 to 29 saw 207 reported overdose calls, a 74 per cent increase with April 28 seeing the highest number of calls in one day since the beginning of past year.

The coroner's service repeated its reminder for those taking illicit drugs not to use alone.

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

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