Overdose Deaths Continue
Prince George, B.C.- Latest information from the BC Coroners Service indicates that on average, 4 people in B.C. died every day during May from illicit drug use.
Provisional data from the BC Coroners Service show that a total of 129 persons died as a result of illicit drug use during the month of May, down only a little from the April figure of 136.
If there is any encouraging news at all in the latest report, it is that that In the Northern Health region, the number of deaths from illicit drug use from January 1 of this year and the end of may is down significantly from the same period a year ago. This year, there have been 20 such deaths in the Northern Health region during that 5 month period, compared to 52 in the same period of 2016.
BC Coroners Service companion research shows that the proportion of illicit drug deaths in which fentanyl was detected continues to climb.
During 2016, the proportion of deaths in which fentanyl was detected remained stable at about 60%. But for the first four months of 2017, that figure rose to 72%, indicating continued toxicity within the drug supply. (The number of deaths in which fentanyl was detected in May is not yet available.)
Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe reiterated that persons who are not currently drug-dependent should avoid experimentation or any casual use of illicit drugs. “The number of deaths shows that the risks remain extreme. The drug supply is unsafe, and casual and occasional users are at high risk of overdose due to their opioid naiveté.”