Submitted image Chart shows that illicit drug deaths have remained fairly stable in northern B.C. since 2016 while the number of deaths continues to soar in the rest of the province.

Four deaths per day caused by drugs in B.C.

Overdose deaths took 129 lives in B.C. during the month of May

While the number of illicit drug deaths continues to soar dramatically across the province, Northern Health is the only regional health authority where those numbers have remained fairly stable since 2016.

According to the latest statistics from the B.C. Coroners Service, there were 129 suspected drug overdose deaths in May 2017 – about 4.2 deaths per day – across the province. This is a staggering 158 per cent increase over the number of deaths occurring in May 2016 (50).

In northern B.C., however, the number of overdose deaths has remained stable compared to last year. Northern Health reported 20 overdose deaths during the first five months of 2017, with six of these deaths occurring in May. In 2016, a total of 50 overdose deaths were reported throughout the year, with half of those deaths occurring in the first six months of the year.

B.C. Coroners Service companion research shows that the proportion of illicit drug deaths in which fentanyl was detected continues to climb. During 2016, the proportion of deaths in which fentanyl was detected remained stable at about 60 per cent; but for the first four months of 2017, that figure rose to 72 per cent, indicating continued toxicity within the drug supply.

Within Northern Health, six overdose deaths in the first four months of 2017 involved fentanyl.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe reiterated that persons who are not currently drug-dependent should avoid experimentation or any casual use of illicit drugs.

“The number of deaths shows that the risks remain extreme,” she said. “The drug supply is unsafe, and casual and occasional users are at high risk of overdose due to their opioid naiveté.”

Until November 2016, B.C. had never seen as many as 100 drug deaths in a single month. In every month since then, the number has exceeded 110, with the all-time high being December 2016 with 159 deaths.

Lapointe also repeated the urging that anyone using illicit drugs, be they opiates, amphetamines or cocaine, should do so only where medical help is available, such as an overdose prevention site, or at the very least, a sober person with access to, and training in, the use of naloxone.

Those who are in the company of someone who has used drugs should note that heavy snoring and lack of rousability are frequently signs of the respiratory distress caused by an overdose; 911 should be called immediately if these symptoms are present.

Just Posted

Concerned residents start petition

The petition asks council to be more “collaborative”

Biker hit by car near Burns Lake

The biker on was his way to South America

Man walking along highway killed in Burns Lake crash

Mounties are investigating the fatal collision

Coalition ‘disgusted’ by MMIW report

The coalition notes several concerns with an interim report

CIHI: overuse of antibiotics in Canada

More than 25 million courses of antibiotics prescribed in 2015

Basketball & comedy in Burns Lake

Members of the Burns Lake RCMP, Lakes District Secondary School senior boys… Continue reading

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

Quesnel to install needle disposal boxes in city-maintained washrooms

Between September 2016 and September 2017, at least 35,527 needles were handed out in Quesnel

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

Court adjourned again for man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found

Curtis Sagmoen will appear back in court on Dec. 14

Winning Lotto 6/49 purchased in Kelowna

Some lucky man or woman purchased a winning 6/49 ticket in Kelowna.

Most Read