2017 provincial death toll from fatal drug overdoses surpassed 1000 in August

Lester Mason
October 12, 2017

According to the latest numbers from the BC Coroners Service, more people have already died of suspected overdoses this year than in all of 2016.

The Coroners Service said 113 people died in August alone, a 79 per cent jump over the same month a year ago. In 2016, that number was 922.

The Coroner says in over 80 per cent of suspected illicit drug deaths this year, fentanyl was detected, which represents an increase of over 150 per cent over the same period last year.

The statistics continue to border on unimaginable: three and half deaths per day, 113 lives lost in August alone more than 1,000 fatal overdoses through eight months.

Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe called the number of deaths heartbreaking. Last year, fentanyl was detected in two thirds of overdose deaths, while this year four in five people that have fatally overdosed had fentanyl in their systems.

The province describes illicit drugs as controlled and illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, MDMA and methamphetamines, and non-prescribed medications obtained from the street. VCHA's 63 per cent rise in overdose deaths is also the largest yearly increase in B.C.


Lapointe said it's important for people to know that no illicit substance in the province can be considered safe, whether you know the dealer or not.

She said anyone using illicit drugs needs to be prepared for an overdose and have someone with them who is willing to help.

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) has the highest rate of illicit drug overdose deaths among all provincial health authorities at 38.9 deaths per 100,000 individuals. Surrey has the second highest number at 123 deaths followed by Victoria at 65 deaths.

Nearly three out of every four deaths involved people between the ages of 30 and 59 years.

There were no deaths in supervised consumption sites or overdose prevention sites.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER