161 people died of illicit drug overdose in B.C. in March

Coroners service says first three months of 2018 show no sign of crisis letting up

A total of 391 people in B.C. died from illicit drug overdoses in the first three months of 2018, suggesting there is no sign over the opioid crisis easing.

In its latest report Thursday, the BC Coroners Service said 161 people died of an overdose in March alone – a 24-per-cent increase from the same time in 2017. That equates to more than five deaths per day.

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

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

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram

Despite efforts by government and health officials to increase harm reduction methods – such as free opioid-reversing nalaxone kits, safe consumption sites and fentanyl test strips – concerning trends have continued to plague all corners of the province.

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.

Men remain to face the lions share of overdose deaths of about 80 per cent, or 319 lives lost.

And more than 90 per cent of overdose deaths have occurred inside, with 62 per cent in private residence and 29 per cent inside other locations. Meanwhile, there have been no deaths at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites in the province since opening in 2016 and 2017.

The BC Coroners Service is urgently reminding those using any illicit drugs not to use alone and carry a nalaxone kit.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: AOK took Langley home and ‘made it amazing’

Volunteers did two weeks of repairs and retrofitting to make the Adam family house safe and livable.

2018 Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair Round-up

Looking back on the community events, rodeo and country fair that took place over May long weekend

VIDEO: Flames destroy abandon Langley home Monday

Fire ripped through a single-storey house in Brookswood on the holiday Monday.

Aldergrove family ecstatic over child’s recovery

Jaylene Prime and her family ‘pays back’ with juvenile arthritis fundraiser

Arrest made in last week’s double shooting in East Van

Carleton Stevens, 37, is charged with attempted murder and remains in custody

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

5 to start your day

Cloverdale Rodeo a rousing success, man arrested in East Van shooting and more

You can now tap your credit card to take public transit

TransLink unveils new feature ahead of busy tourist season

Canada’s G7 goal on development: luring private capital to poor nations

G7 finance and international development ministers convene in British Columbia next week

Congressional leaders to review information on Russia probe

Trump said he will “demand” that the Justice Department open an investigation into whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign

Tall ships return to Blaine in June

The vessels Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain offer ‘a glimpse into our historic past’

Canadians stranded in Cuba after plane crash returning home

Montreal-based travel agency says hundreds of Canadians who were stuck in Cuba since a plane crash last week are returning home

As summit looms, North Korean media return to angry tone

North Korean media are stepping up their rhetorical attacks on South Korea and joint military exercises with the United States

Most Read