Record toxic illicit drug deaths in B.C. show 1,534 people have died this year: coroner

The newest numbers from British Columbia’s coroner present suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths set new information in August and September, pushing complete overdose deaths to a different file for the primary 9 months of a calendar yr.

The BC Coroners Service says 181 individuals died in August and 152 in September, file figures for each months, and it brings the variety of fatalities because the begin of the yr to 1,534.

A coroner’s assertion says September marked the twelfth consecutive month through which there have been at the least 150 deaths because of poisonous illicit medication.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says the toll is “heartbreaking,” representing a 24 per cent improve over the 1,240 deaths recorded between January and September final yr.

The assertion says B.C.’s loss of life fee stands at simply over 39 for each 100,000 residents, practically double the speed in 2016 when the general public well being emergency over illicit overdoses was first declared.

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Lapointe’s workplace has warned of B.C.’s more and more poisonous and risky illicit drug provide, with the highly effective opioid fentanyl present in 84 per cent of deaths whereas the extra poisonous carfentanil is linked to 137 deaths this yr, greater than double the 65 recorded for all of 2020.

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That is the sixth yr of the general public well being emergency associated to tainted medication and Lapointe says deaths proceed to soar.

“Pressing motion on quite a lot of fronts is required, together with a lot broader entry to protected provide, extra available and environment friendly drug-checking providers, and a shift from a law-enforcement focus to a health-centred strategy,” Lapointe says within the launch.

B.C. has utilized to the federal authorities to decriminalize possession of illicit medication for private use, which is a vital step towards addressing the disaster, says Lapointe.

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Information from the coroner’s workplace present males between the ages of 30 and 59 are nearly all of victims.

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Seventy-one per cent of B.C.’s suspected drug toxicity victims this yr had been between the ages of 30 and 59, and 79 per cent had been males, the assertion says.

The report exhibits the very best loss of life charges had been present in Vancouver, the Thompson Cariboo, Northwest B.C., northern Vancouver Island and the jap Fraser Valley.

Deaths because of drug toxicity stay the main reason behind unnatural loss of life in B.C., the coroner says.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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