Drug injection supplies are pictured inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site in Surrey, B.C. Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Drug injection supplies are pictured inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site in Surrey, B.C. Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. marks 14th month of 100+ deaths as 176 people fatally overdose in April

At least 176 people fatally overdosed, or roughly 11 deaths every two days

Once again, a record-number of British Columbians died from illicit drug poisonings in April, according to preliminary data from the B.C. Coroners Service.

At least 176 people fatally overdosed, or roughly 11 deaths every two days. This brings the total number of deaths from January to April to 680.

“I offer my heartfelt condolences to every family in the province that is experiencing the unimaginable pain of sudden and unexpected loss,” chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement Tuesday (June 1).

The 176 lives lost are a record for the month of April and roughly 43 per cent higher than in April 2020.

The Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health authorities, which include the largest populations of people in B.C., have accounted for 61 per cent of suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths this year.

However, the coroners service noted that the health service delivery areas with the highest rates of death are Vancouver, Northeast, Thompson Cariboo, Northwest and North Vancouver Island – evidence that this crisis has impacted nearly every corner of the province.

The pandemic, while forcing many inside to use alone, has also led to an increased toxicity among street drugs.

Fentanyl has been detected in 86 per cent of deaths this year, while carfentanil, a more potent analogue of fentanyl, has been found in 62 samples – almost as many as were detected in all of 2020 (65).

Meanwhile, benzodiazapenes were detected in 57 per cent of samples in April. That’s almost four times the amount reported in July 2020, at 15 per cent.

“We know that substance use disorder is a complex health issue, and those experiencing it need meaningful and compassionate services and supports,” Lapointe said.

“Far too often, we hear from families who have lost a loved one that no help was available despite desperate searches over months or years. It is critical that harm reduction services, including safe supply, are accessible where and when people need them, and that recovery services are evidence based and accountable.”

More to come.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

opioid crisis

Just Posted

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

The Sooke Potholes is a jewel in the community's crown. Transition Sooke hosts a town hall meeting on community growth on June 26. (Courtesy: Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke forum tackles community growth

To Grow or Not to Grow online town hall meeting set for June 26

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read