More than three years after a public health emergency was declared in B.C. over the opioid crisis, the number of people dying of illicit drug overdoses in the province is dropping.
The BC Coroner’s Service reports that there were 73 suspected fatal drug overdoses in the province in June. It marks a 15% decrease from May, and a 35% fall from June of 2018.
At the halfway point of 2019, there have been 538 fatal overdoses in B.C., a 30% drop when compared with the first six months of 2018.
The Coroner’s Service says fentanyl continues to be detected in more than 80% of fatal ODs, but that they are seeing fewer cases, 17 in May and June, where the even more potent opioid carfentanil is detected.
On Vancouver Island, there have been 82 fatal drug overdoses through the first half of 2019, compared with 242 in 2018.
Victoria is also seeing a drop, with five fatal overdoses recorded in June and 28 so far in 2019. There were 98 in 2018.
It comes as an Island Health overdose advisory remains in place for Victoria after a spike in the number of overdoses over the past two weeks.