Anna Kebaien, who serves as a liaison to the outreach team at Our Place Society demonstrates how to use a fentanyl test strip at the overdose prevention site at Our Place. (Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS)

B.C. sees 125 overdose deaths in January: Coroner

There were fewer fatalities than in January 2017, but 25 per cent more than deaths in December

The B.C. Coroners Service says 125 people died from a drug overdose in the month of January.

That equates to about four deaths every day, according to the latest data released Tuesday.

While there were fewer fatalities than in January 2017, the number of deaths climbed 25 per cent from stats for December 2017.

Due to privacy concerns, the B.C. Coroners Service has only confirmed the number of deaths in the three cities who continue to see the highest numbers of overdoses: Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.

By health authority, Vancouver Coastal Health saw 37 deaths, Fraser Health had 35 and there were 20 on Vancouver Island. The Interior saw 19 deaths.

All health authorities except Northern Health Authority saw an increase in the number of illicit drug overdose deaths in January 2018 compared to December 2017.

READ MORE: Treat opioid addiction as a chronic disease, says B.C. addictions expert

READ MORE: B.C. launches new drug-checking program, expands fentanyl testing

Certain trends are continuing into 2018, while a number of combative measures continue to be implemented by the province.

Men continue to see the lion’s share of overdose deaths and 50 per cent of all of fatal overdose victims were 19 to 39-years-old. One person between the age of 10 and 18 died in January.

Illicit fentanyl continues to be the top drug found in about 70 per cent of toxicology reports, followed by cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

Fatal drug overdoses occurred more during weeks when income assistance is paid out, which is the last Wednesday of each month. That span would see about five deaths per day between the Wednesday to Sunday.

READ MORE: Victoria Police Chief calls for staggered social assistance payments

READ MORE: Overdose data policy may not comply with FOI law, expert says

Nearly 95 per cent of deaths within the month occurred inside a home. None happened at any of the 10 supervised drug consumption site or overdose prevention sites across the province.

And the opioid epidemic continues to touch all corners of the province, with the only health services delivery areas to not see an overdose death in January 2018 being East Kootenay and the Northwest.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Langley holds birthday bash for late Queen Victoria

Thousands came out Monday to celebrate May Day with a parade, pole dancing, and a party in the park.

Tyler O’Neill homers in three straight games

Slugger from Maple Ridge back in the Majors

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.

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

Transportation Minister disappointed by BC Ferries plan to remove fuel rebates

Claire Trevena says she is ‘extremely disappointed’ by a plan by BC Ferries to remove fuel rebates

B.C. sues Alberta over bill that could ‘turn oil taps off’

Lawsuit is the latest move in the two provinces’ ongoing feud over the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Liberal government introduces measures to update Canada’s family laws

Justice officials say there have not been substantial updates to federal family laws in 20 years

B.C. mom threatens legal action against sunscreen company

Caleb Jordan, 6, was covered in blisters 20 minutes after using Banana Boat sunscreen

BC Games Society president to step down

Kelly Mann says it’s time for a change after 26 years with the society

B.C. politicians framed by anonymous sticky-note doodler

Insider has been posting caricatures from the B.C. legislature to social media

27 years since initial police probe, polygamist leader to be sentenced in June

Prosecutor recommend up to 6 months jail, defence asks for conditional or absolute discharge

Governments kick in cash for B.C. farmers, food processors

Ottawa, Victoria contribute $14 million over five years to help develop new products, processes

Most Read