Suspected overdose deaths climb in September, BC Coroners report

Sarah Blyth of Overdose Prevention Society in Vancouver

Sarah Blyth of Overdose Prevention Society in Vancouver

It is also a 38 per cent climb from September of past year when there were 93 suspected overdose deaths in the month. The death rate per 100,000 population from illegal drug overdose is up to 31.3 from 30.3 previous year.

From January to August of 2018, fentanyl was detected in 92 per cent of overdose deaths locally, however, full toxicology data is not yet available for September.

In Kamloops alone, 32 people have died since the beginning of the year. Thirty-nine of those deaths occurred in the northern interior specifically; the remaining 15 occurred in the northeast and the other six occurred in the northwest.

The BC Coroners Service says there were 128 suspected overdose deaths in September, up eight per cent compared to August and an increase of 38 per cent over September of past year. In 2008, six people died.

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These numbers make up a fraction of the 1,143 deaths across the province attributed to illicit drug overdoses in 2018.

The rate of illicit drug overdoses per 100,000 individuals for the Northern Health Authority has also increased.

So far this year, 63 per cent of all deaths have occurred in the Lower Mainland. Historically, the highest number of people lost to a drug overdose in Kamloops in one year was 44, back in 2016.

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.

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