Health Care

Increase in overdose deaths provincewide

Increase in overdose deaths provincewide

Eleven of the 13 people who died last month in the North had fentanyl detected, while all of the fatal overdoses in January and February involved fentanyl.

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

The coroners service says the opioid was detected in post-mortem testing on 83 per cent of victims who died in the first three months of 2018.

ISLAND, B.C- March of 2018 was one of the worst we've seen for illicit drug overdose deaths in British Columbia.

Most of the overdose deaths in 2018 are men with 319 and more people are dying in their 30s from suspected overdose cases among all age groups with 101 deaths or 25.8 per cent.

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The coroner's agency states in a news release that over 90 percent of those 391 overdose deaths listed in the first 3 weeks of 2018 happened inside and no deaths were recorded at supervised consumption websites.

Last month, a death review panel looking into the overdose crisis called for even more services to check for toxic drugs as well as the expansion of treatment programs.

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.

More than 1,400 British Columbians died due to illicit drug overdose in 2017, 366 in Vancouver. 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 previous year.

There have been 22 deaths from a suspected overdose on central Vancouver Island, which has a rate of 31.6 deaths per 100,000 people.