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B.C. Coroners reports illicit drug overdose deaths up 75 per cent

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June 09, 2016 - 10:55 AM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - The B.C. Coroners Service has released more illicit drug overdose statistics which show the number of deaths continue to rise in the province and fentanyl is playing a big role.

There were 308 deaths linked to illicit drug overdoses between January and May 2016 — up 75 per cent over the same period last year when there were 176 deaths, according to a media release from the coroners service.

Through April 30, fentanyl was detected alone or with other drugs in 56 per cent of the overdoses. Only 31 per cent were linked to fentanyl during the same period last year.

In the Interio Health region at least 25 of the 57 overdose deaths have been linked to fentanyl this year.

The coroners service says from January to May 61.6 people on average died each month from an overdose. Compare that to 2015 when the average number of illicit drug overdose deaths per month was about 40.3.

The largest number of overdoses occured in January when 77 people died. May has had the fewest number deaths so far this year with 42, which is on par with both May 2014 and May 2015.

In 2012, just five per cent of illicit drug overdose deaths in the first four months of the year included fentanyl.


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