Overdose deaths are continuing to decrease at promising rates in B.C. but five people are still dying every two days due to a toxic drug supply.
There were 690 drug deaths between January and August, according to data released by the BC Coroners Service Wednesday, marking a 33 per cent drop in drug-related fatalities in the first eight months of 2019 compared to last year. A reported 1,037 people died from illicit drugs within the same time period last year and 1,083 people in 2017.
Seventy-nine deaths were drug related in August, marking a general decline month-over-month since January.
Despite the reprieve in the ongoing overdose crisis, street-level fentanyl remains a prominent cause of overdose deaths and has been detected in 85 per cent of all toxicity reports.
– In the first 8 months of 2019 (Jan-Aug), there were 690 illicit fatal overdoses, a decrease of 33% over the same eight-month period in 2018 when 1,037 were reported.
– In August there were 79 deaths, or ~ 2.5 per day.
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— Ashley Wadhwani (@ashwadhwani) October 16, 2019
Illicit carfentanil, a drug 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and used to sedate large animals, has been detected in 119 fatal overdoses – a 240 per cent spike from the 35 deaths seen last year.
By local area, the highest rates of illicit drug deaths are in the small communities of Princeton, Grand Forks and Hope. The lions share of these kinds of deaths remain in Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.