B.C. to announce latest numbers around illicit drug overdose deaths

By The Canadian Press
January 18, 2017 - 6:32am Updated: January 18, 2017 - 12:47pm

VANCOUVER — The British Columbia government is expected to release the latest statistics today around illicit drug overdose deaths.

The number of fatalities in the province last year reached 755 up until the beginning of December, following a record-breaking 128 deaths in November.

The previous high was 82 deaths, in January 2016.

B.C. has been ground zero for an opioid overdose crisis precipitated in part by the arrival of the deadly opioid fentanyl, which led the province’s chief medical officer to declare a state of emergency last April.

Health officials have speculated whether the arrival of the more powerful elephant tranquilizer carfentanil is behind the recent spike in overdoses.

The province’s chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe, is expected to join Health Minister Terry Lake for today’s announcement.

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