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

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

MARS Wildlife Rescue offers some tips on keeping hummingbird feeders clean

Mould from dirty hummingbird feeders can be fatal

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

Northern Health Authority expands medical bus use

Over 60 or have mobility challenges? You can now travel on Northern Connections.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

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

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughters’ death

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Timely tide attracts another pod of orcas to Victoria

The pod left the harbour about 30 minutes later

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Capitals coach resigns after Stanley Cup win

Barry Trotz announced his resignation on Monday

B.C. pledges $550 million for Indigenous housing

Premier John Horgan says province moving into on-reserve projects

Sweden beats South Korea 1-0

Sweden gets benefit of video review in World Cup

Blue Jay Roberto Osuna not expected to appear in court

The Blue Jays pitcher is charged with one count of assault by Toronto police

Most Read