Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

BC drug deaths suddenly raised to 162 in March

BC drug deaths suddenly raised to 162 in March

It's also a massive 58 per cent jump from the previous month, as there were only 102 overdose deaths in February.

Preliminary statistics show the effective painkiller fentanyl was discovered in 83 percent of those deaths from the first 3 months of the season.

More than 90 per cent of the deaths occurred indoors, and no deaths have been reported at supervised consumption sites or drug overdose prevention sites.

Looking at the death toll provincially, the first three months of the year did not see much of a change from the same period in past years, though the 161 deaths in March represent the second-highest monthly total to date.

In April, the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services recorded the highest number of overdose calls in 17 months.

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.

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

Darcy said the province has also moved to almost double the number of overdose prevention sites since September and the number of new patients on new patients on opioid substitutions therapies is up 126 per cent. 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 past 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.

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

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