BC illicit drug deaths in 2017 surpass last year's total

Elias Hubbard
October 12, 2017

The B.C. Coroners Service released statistics on the province's ongoing overdoes epidemic, which shows that as of August 31st, 1,013 people have fatally overdosed on illicit drugs this year.

The Coroners Service said 113 people died in August alone, a 79 per cent jump over the same month past year.

The opioid crisis shows no signs of slowing down as new numbers show a spike in the number of overdose deaths in the province and here on Vancouver Island.

Preliminary data indicates that there were 113 suspected drug overdose deaths in August, which is more than 3.5 deaths per day and a 79 per cent increase from August 2016.

VICTORIA-More people died from illicit drug overdoses in British Columbia in the first eight months of this year than all of 2016.

Middle-aged men are the most at risk for drug overdoses.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says the increase in deaths highlights the complex issues of drug dependency.

The province describes illicit drugs as controlled and illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, MDMA and methamphetamines, and non-prescribed medications obtained from the street.

"We also need people to know that no illicit substance in this province can be considered safe, whether you know your dealer or not. Anyone using an illicit substance must be prepared for an adverse effect and must have someone else present who is willing and able to help".

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) has the highest rate of illicit drug overdose deaths among all provincial health authorities at 38.9 deaths per 100,000 individuals.

Adult men continue to make up the vast majority of overdose cases, with 82 per cent of cases being men and 91 per cent among people between the ages of 19 and 59. Four out of five deaths were male.

There have been no deaths at any supervised consumption site or drug overdose prevention sites to date.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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