Illicit drug overdose deaths rise month-over-month in January

By Canadian Press/Greg Fry
March 6, 2018 - 2:18pm

KAMLOOPS — Illicit drug overdose deaths in British Columbia rose in January compared with December, with 125 people believed to have died from street narcotics or unprescribed medications.

The B.C. Coroners Service says the number of deaths in January increased 25 per cent from December, but decreased 12 per cent from January 2017.

The province has been gripped by an overdose crisis fuelled by the powerful opioid fentanyl, claiming a record 1,436 lives last year.

New stats released by the coroners service today say the communities with the highest number of illicit drug overdoses in January were Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.

 It says half of those who died were between 19 and 39, and 82 per cent were men.

Ninety-four per cent of deaths occurred indoors, while only five per cent occurred outside, and there were no deaths at supervised consumption or overdose prevention sites.

Spokesman Andy Watson says only communities with 10 or more fatalities were identified but noted there were six suspected overdose deaths in the Thompson Caribo region.

"Obviously we put out a PSA with Interior Health last week that indicated we saw six in the City of Kamloops alone over a 10-day period in February. So, it will be interesting to take a look at the data and see the differences between January and February."

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