Overdose deaths down in January 2019

A 31% decrease in illicit drug overdose deaths was reported compared with January 2018

The BC Coroners Service has released two updated reports on illicit drug overdose deaths and fentanyl-detected deaths to the end of January 2019.

There were 90 suspected drug overdose deaths across the province in January 2019. This is a 31 per cent decrease over the number of deaths occurring in January 2018 (130), and a 22 per cent decrease over the number of deaths occurring in December 2018 (116). The number of illicit drug overdose deaths in January 2019 equates to about 2.9 deaths per day.

In January 2019, 76 per cent of those dying were aged 30 to 59; individuals aged 19–59 have accounted for 88 per cent of illicit drug overdose deaths. Males accounted for 83 per cent of all suspected illicit drug overdose deaths over the same period.

Interior Health recorded 11 illicit drug overdose deaths in January 2019. Three of those deaths were in the Thompson-Cariboo region, with two of them in Kamloops.

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).

In January 2019, carfentanil was detected in 13 overdose deaths. By comparison, carfentanil was detected in 35 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in all of 2018 and in 71 deaths between June 2017 (when Coroners Service testing for carfentanil began) and December 2017. Fentanyl or its analogues were detected in approximately 87 per cent of illicit drug overdose deaths in 2018, and 82 per cent of illicit drug overdose deaths in 2017.

There were no deaths at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.


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