Fen­tanyl mostly re­spon­si­ble for new height in B.C. drug deaths

The News (New Glasgow) - - CANADA -

VIC­TO­RIA - More peo­ple died from il­licit drug over­doses in Bri­tish Columbia in the first eight months of this year than all of 2016.

The coroner’s ser­vice says the 1,013 peo­ple who died from over­doses from Jan­uary to the end of Au­gust sur­passes a record 982 deaths last year.

The lat­est fig­ures for 2017 show fen­tanyl was de­tected ei­ther alone or with an­other drug in more than 80 per cent of the deaths.

The prov­ince de­clared a state of emer­gency last year and brought in a num­ber of ini­tia­tives and harm-re­duc­tion mea­sures to try and re­duce over­doses.

Chief coroner Lisa La­pointe says the in­crease in deaths high­lights the com­plex is­sues of drug de­pen­dency and the need for peo­ple to know that no il­licit sub­stance can be con­sid­ered safe.

The sta­tis­tics show 91 per cent of those who died this year were aged 19 to 59 and 80 per cent of those were men.

The coroner’s ser­vice says there were no deaths at su­per­vised con­sump­tion or drug-over­dose preven­tion sites.

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