BC Coroner report says drug overdose deaths are up 38%

Ash Murni / November 15, 2018

Fentanyl was responsible for 77% of overdose deaths in 2018.
(Person Holding Medical Pills / Pixabay)

The BC Coroner has released a report stating that there were 128 suspected drug overdose deaths in September 2018 which is a 38% increase compared to September 2017.

Within just a month the amount of illicit drug overdoses increased by 8% between August and September of this year.

The number of overdose deaths equates to about 4.3 deaths per day for the month. Males accounted for 80% of all suspected drug overdose deaths in 2018.

The illicit drug category includes street drugs such as heroin, cocaine and illicit fentanyl as well as medications obtained and purchased from unknown sources.

77% of overdose deaths were linked to illicit fentanyl and more fatal overdoses occurred on the days following the income assistant payment in relation to other times of the month.

“Someone buys a bag of fentanyl and they use one section of it and it’s 15% strong then they use another section it’s 45% and then another section could be 70% so you can see what’s going on here. They do their first initial use and think oh it’s not as strong as I’m used to I’ll do another batch.” – Ryan Vena, Outreach Worker

The three municipalities that experienced the highest number of overdoses in 2018 are Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.

The Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority made up 63% of BC’s illicit drug overdose deaths which was the highest number in the province.

The majority of the overdose deaths occurred indoors accounting for 86% of the total number this year while 13% happened outside on sidewalks, streets and parks. There were no reported deaths at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.

Illicit drug overdose deaths have increased at a faster rate between 2010 and 2017 compared to other forms of unnatural deaths in BC such as suicide, homicide and motor vehicle accidents.

With files from Sean Holden

86% of overdose deaths occur indoors but the remaining 13% happened outside in the streets and sidewalks of BC

(Stop, Drugs, Addict / Pixabay)

This graph represents the total amount of deaths by the end of each month listed, from 2015 – 2018.