The number of suspected overdose deaths in September went up in B.C., bringing overall 2018 deaths nearly in line with the record-setting pace of 2017.

The latest figures from the BC Coroners Service says there were 128 suspected deaths from illicit drugs, up eight per cent from the 118 reported in August.

It is also a 38 per cent climb from September of last year when there were 93 suspected overdose deaths in the month.

The service says fentanyl has accounted for the vast majority of the 1,143 deaths so far this year.

Through September of 2017, there were 1,156 deaths, in a year that saw a total of 1,458 lives lost from drug overdoses in the province.

Victoria has had 74 suspected overdose deaths in 2018, third-most among B.C. communities behind Vancouver (297) and Surrey (162).

There have been 26 deaths reported in Nanaimo this year.

Among Island Health authority regions, south Vancouver Island has had 97 deaths for a rate of 33.1 per 100,000 people.

The rate for central Vancouver Island is not far behind at 32 suspected overdose deaths per 100,000, with a total of 67 lives lost through the first nine months of the year.

North Vancouver Island has had 20 suspected overdose deaths at a rate of 21.4 people per 100,000.

Vancouver has a suspected overdose death rate of 58 per 100,000 people.

Vancouver city council has voted to support newly elected Mayor Kennedy Stewart in appointing an opioid emergency task force to review the factors driving opioid dependency and to advise council on possible interventions.

The report says illicit drug overdose deaths in September equals 4.3 deaths per day in the month.

CHEK