The BC Coroners Service (BCCS) says there were 90 suspected overdose deaths in B.C. this past January, the first month to have fewer than 100 since September 2017.
The coroner’s office released two reports on illicit drug deaths in January and figures on fentanyl-detected deaths. There were 1,310 illicit drug overdose deaths with fentanyl detected in 2018. This is a seven per cent increase over the number of deaths occurring in 2017 (1,223).
However, in its updated report, suspected overdose deaths were down this past January by 31 per cent compared to the 130 cases in January 2018.
Of the 90 deaths in the province in January, fentanyl was detected in 68 of those cases, the lowest figure since October 2016 when there were 53.
And to December 2018, January saw 22 per cent fewer overdose deaths. January saw a drop from the 101 overdose deaths in December 2018 where fentanyl was detected, which capped off a year that saw fentanyl found in 1,310 deaths, up from 1,223 similar cases in 2017.
The rate of which fentanyl is detected in all illicit drug overdose deaths has steadily climbed since 2012, and the BCCS says it reached 87 per cent in 2018.
In the first month of the year, there were five suspected drug overdose deaths in Victoria, with six total in the south Island health service delivery area.
Nanaimo had one overdose death in January, but the central Island health area reported a total of seven.
Another four deaths were reported for the north Island region.
B.C. had its highest number of suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in 2018 with 1,510, with 1,486 recorded in 2017.