Illicit drug use continues to take a toll

Courtesy BC Coroners Service

According to the report by the BC Coroners Service, 86 per cent of illicit drug overdose deaths occurred inside, and 13 per cent occurred outside. The death rate per 100,000 population from illegal drug overdose is up to 31.3 from 30.3 past year. For comparison, 23 people died in 2017 and 18 people died in 2016.

It is also a 38 per cent climb from September of a year ago when there were 93 suspected overdose deaths in the month. Thirty-nine of those deaths occurred in the northern interior specifically; the remaining 15 occurred in the northeast and the other six occurred in the northwest.

A total of 128 people died from illicit drugs in September, as the staggering number of overdose deaths in B.C. climbs to more than 1,100 this year. In 2008, six people died. It's now at 28 (the highest it's ever been), whereas in 2017, it was 21.2, and in 2008 it was 2.1. The number of suspected overdose deaths in September went up in B.C., bringing overall 2018 deaths almost in line with the record-setting pace of 2017.

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The service says fentanyl has accounted for the vast majority of the 1,143 deaths so far this year.

Among Island Health authority regions, south Vancouver Island has had 97 deaths for a rate of 33.1 per 100,000 people.

Provincewide, fentanyl has been detected in 84 per cent of overdose deaths this year. The province has seen no deaths at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.

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