Fentanyl present in over 80 per cent of fatal illicit drug overdoses in B.C. so far this year | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Fentanyl present in over 80 per cent of fatal illicit drug overdoses in B.C. so far this year

November 09, 2017 - 11:26 AM

For the first month in 2017, fewer than 100 people died of a suspected illicit drug overdose in B.C.

New statistics from the B.C. Coroners Service show there were 80 illicit drug overdose deaths in the province in September, bringing the overdose death toll this year to 1,103.

Although this is the lowest number of deaths in one month so far this year, it's still a 31 per cent increase over the number of deaths in September 2016.

This year, people ages 19 to 59 have accounted for 91 per cent of all illicit drug overdose deaths, according to the Coroners Service, and men have accounted for 83 per cent of all suspected drug overdose deaths.

Nearly 90 per cent of drug overdoses deaths have occurred indoors, with nearly 60 per cent in private residences and nearly 30 per cent inside other locations. There have been no deaths at any supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.

Drug overdose deaths continue to be the most common cause of unnatural deaths in the province.

The Coroners Service says more fatal overdoses occurred during the days following income assistance payment than all other days in 2017.

Preliminary data shows fentanyl has been detected either alone or in combination with other drugs in 83 per cent of all fatal overdoses this year, compared to 68 per cent in 2016.

According to the Coroners service, the top four detected drugs in overdose deaths from 2016 to 2017 were fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

In September, there were just three fatal drug overdose deaths in Kelowna and just one in Kamloops. In Vernon, there have been 17 fatal overdoses so far this year. Across the Interior Health Authority in September, there were just nine fatal overdoses, compared to 25 in August of this year.

For more on the overdose crisis in the province, go here.

To catch up on the latest coverage around fentanyl, go here.

For the full B.C. Coroners Service report, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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