B.C. drug deaths up 88 per cent from last year

The Canadian Press
August 08, 2017
Written by The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER – British Columbia's coroners' service says 111 people died of illicit overdose deaths in the province in June, the lowest monthly death toll so far this year.

However the service says the total this year at 780 deaths is 88 per cent higher than the first six months of last year.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says while it's a relief the monthly toll is down, there is still a significant increase from last year and we are still losing loved and valued members of our communities at a tragic rate.

Lapointe says the drug supply is unsafe and anyone using illicit drugs is at a high risk for overdose.

The figures show four out of five people who died were male and three quarters of the deaths involved people between the ages of 30 and 59.

The powerful opioid fentanyl has been suspected in many of the deaths, and now the coroners' service confirms that from January to May this year the drug was detected in 78 per cent of the overdose deaths.

Health Canada is working to approve several supervised consumption sites across the country, and on Thursday allowed the opening of Victoria's first such facility so drug users can inject illicit substances and get help if they overdose.

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