Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

March overdose deaths reached near-record level in BC

March overdose deaths reached near-record level in BC

The coroner says more than 1,400 residents died from suspected illicit drug overdoses past year.

In 2017, there were 39 overdose deaths recorded in Kamloops.

For 2018, there were 391 deaths in B.C. between January 1 and March 31.

Preliminary statistics show the effective painkiller fentanyl was discovered in 83 percent of those deaths from the first 3 months of the season.

THERE were 161 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in British Columbia in March 2018, the second-highest monthly total to date, based on the latest data provided by the BC Coroners Service. Seven in every 10 of those were between the ages of 19 to 49.

Carfentanil, which is even more potent than fentanyl, was detected in 81 overdose deaths between June last year and the end of March of this year.

There have been 22 deaths from a suspected overdose on central Vancouver Island, which has a rate of 31.6 deaths per 100,000 people.

There was a 58 per cent increase in overdose deaths in comparison with the last month surveyed.

Most people (90.5 per cent) died indoors, and no deaths were reported at supervised-consumption sites or drug overdose-prevention sites.

So far this year, there have been 391 deaths across B.C., with about a quarter (102) happening in the the City of Vancouver.

The coroner's service replicated its deadline for those taking illegal drugs to not use independently. Those using substances should have someone nearby equipped and trained to administer naloxone or able to call 911 immediately if an overdose occurs.

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