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BC Coroner releases fatal drug overdose statistics

Contributor
By Contributor
May 14th, 2016

The BC Coroners Service has posted the most recent statistics on illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C. to its website.

The total number of illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C. to April 30, 2016, is 256. This represents an increase of 88.2 per cent from the 136 deaths that occurred in the same period last year.

Fentanyl was detected in 49 per cent of the illicit drug-related deaths that occurred in the first three months of the year. This compares to 32per cent detected in these deaths for all of 2015. Fentanyl is most often detected in combination with other illicit substances.

Those using illicit drugs are urged to exercise extreme caution, given the significant numbers of deaths involving fentanyl and the lethality of this drug. Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe stresses the critical importance of illicit drug users having medical assistance or a support person nearby in the event of overdose professionals.

“Naloxone is now widely available in the province, including in some pharmacies without a prescription, and can be administered by anyone trained to use it,” Lapointe said. “This administration is often extremely successful in preventing what would otherwise be a tragic opiate drug overdose death.”

The report covers the first four months of 2016 (Jan. 1 – April 30) and can be found at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/death-investigation/statistical/illicit-drug.pdf

An updated report on the number of deaths involving fentanyl to March 31, 2016, can be found at:

http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/death-investigation/statistical/fentanyl-detected-overdose.pdf

There is a one-month lag in fentanyl data due to testing protocols.

Categories: CrimeGeneralHealth

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