A contaminated drug supply continues to pose risk to people using substances.
According to data released today by the BC Coroners Service, British Columbia’s illicit drug overdose deaths, through the first eight months of 2017, already have surpassed the 2016 total for the entire year.
Preliminary data indicate there were 113 suspected drug overdose deaths in August 2017, more than three-and-a-half deaths per day and a 79% increase from August 2016. The suspected number of illicit drug overdose deaths for the year to date is now 1,013, up from 547 at this time in 2016.
Over 80% (823) of the suspected illicit drug deaths to date in 2017 had fentanyl detected, representing an increase of 151% over the same period in 2016. In most cases, fentanyl was combined with other illicit drugs, most often cocaine, heroin or methamphetamines.
“It’s heartbreaking to see the continued high numbers of deaths throughout the province despite the numerous initiatives and harm-reduction measures in place. This highlights the complexities of drug dependency and illicit drug use, and the importance of a co-ordinated, health-focused approach to this medical issue,” said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe.
“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.”
Current key trends in 2017 suspected illicit drug-overdose death cases:
- Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has the highest rate of illicit drug overdose deaths among all health authorities at 38.9 deaths per 100,000 individuals and also experienced the largest increase in rate from 2016 at a 63% increase;
- almost three out of every four deaths involved persons between the ages of 30 and 59 years;
- four out of five who died were male;
- nine out of every 10 deaths occurred indoors, including more than half in private residences; and
- no deaths occurred at any supervised consumption site or at any of the drug overdose prevention sites.
- Over 1,400 B.C. residents died of suspected illicit drug overdoses in 2017
- The nightmarish body count from drug overdoses continues: Here are the latest stats
- Overdose Alert: AIDS Vancouver Island issues this warning
- Illicit drug deaths in first eight months of 2017 show deepening overdose crisis in B.C.
- From fires to fentanyl, from homes to homelessness, Horgan’s UBCM keynote covered the gamut
- Fentanyl detected in 81% of illicit drug deaths in B.C. in 2017
- International Overdose Awareness Day: 780 lives lost in BC so far this year
- Carfentanil creeps into Victoria, West Shore
- June illicit drug-death numbers
- A Sooke man is sharing his near-death, overdose story in an attempt to warn others
- May’s daily death toll from illicit drug use in BC exceeds four per day
- Illicit drug-related deaths still critical in BC: April is second highest number ever
- New service available for people addicted to opioids in Victoria
- Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act becomes law in Canada
- Overdose deaths in March the third highest number for a single month
- Illicit drug deaths in January still high
- What have the Sooke RCMP been up to lately? Tackling opiates, domestic violence, speeding and trafficking
- BC drug-related deaths in 2016 spike by 80%
- Leaked memo shows Island Health is planning cuts to address Christy Clark underfunding
- Inside the fentanyl crisis: Why people are dying
- The power of addiction: CBC interviews mom whose son died Dec 11
- Overdose deaths from illicit drug use up 70.4% from last year
- Coroner issues urgent drug-death warning
- Multi-jurisdictional investigation results in major fentanyl seizure
- Sooke Fire now packs Naloxone
- Do you use drugs? Calling 911 will NOT get you in trouble
- Illicit drug deaths a continuing concern
- Three-in-Ten Canadians personally impacted by addiction
- Opposition calls for government step up on the Fentanyl Crisis
- June overdose death numbers in BC show increase
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