Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria had the highest number of illicit drug overdoses last month, according to the BC Coroner’s Service.
The BC Coroner’s Service said the number of illicit drug overdose deaths in British Columbia rose in January compared to December, with 125 people believed to have died from street narcotics or unprescribed medications. The number of deaths in January increased by 25 per cent from December, but decreased 12 per cent from January 2017.
According to the BC Coroner’s Service, 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.
In January 2018, Victoria recorded 14 illicit drug overdose deaths, compared to 15 in Surrey and 33 in Vancouver. As for health authorities, the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser had the highest number of overdose deaths at 37 and 35 respectively in January 2018. Island Health had 29 overdose deaths last month.
The coroner’s service also said fatal overdoses were higher during the five days after income assistance payments were issued compared with other days of the month.
The province has been gripped by an overdose crisis fuelled by the powerful opioid fentanyl, claiming a record 1,436 lives last year.
With files from The Canadian Press