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

Ladysmith business recognized for supporting diversity in the workplace

Ladysmith Home Hardware, Ladysmith Pharmasave, LRCA, and Maya Norte saluted

Editorial: Looking back at windstorm helps us prepare for next time

BC Hydro says it was the most destructive storm in its history

Competition offers $2,000 to Ladysmith and area playwright

Yellow Point Drama Group continues focus on supporting and nurturing local arts scene in 2019

Editorial: Federal byelection, if it happens, is no reason for voter fatigue

If indeed a byelection is called to choose a Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP, we might as well embrace it

Two of Chemainus photographer Marston’s images picked among National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Truck convoy honouring Nanaimo boy who died after being struck by vehicle

Trucks left from Victoria and others joined along the way up the Island

Support pours in for Vancouver Island couple whose home was destroyed by massive blaze

GoFundMe page reached $10,000 in one day for soon-to-be parents

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

Most Read