Six volunteer firefighters from the Mesachie Lake fire department learn how to administer naloxone to overdose victims.

May numbers: Four deaths per day caused by illicit drugs

The BC Coroners Service says 129 people died during the month of May, slightly down from 136 deaths in April.

The illicit drug crisis in British Columbia continues to take more lives as recent data shows more than 100 people died during the month of May.

Before November 2016, the province had never seen as many as 100 deaths in a single month. Now, and in every month since, numbers routinely exceed 110.

This jump in drug-related deaths culminated in December when numbers reached an all-time high of 159 deaths in that month alone.

Research from the BC Coroners Service also shows the proportion of illicit drug deaths where fentanyl was detected continues to climb. Last year, roughly 60 per cent of of these deaths included fentanyl, but that number has risen to 72 per cent through the first four months of 2017.

Overdose deaths by city
Create your own infographics

“The number of deaths shows that the risks remain extreme,” said Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe, adding that people should avoid experimentation or any casual use of illicit drugs.

“The drug supply is unsafe, and casual and occasional users are at high risk of overdose due to their opioid naiveté.”

Lapointe also urges those who are drug-dependent to only use when medical help is available, such as an overdose prevention site or in the company of a sober person with access or training in the use of naloxone.

Some signs of a possible overdose include:

  • Heavy snoring
  • Inability to wake them up
  • Respiratory distress

More than 80 per cent of illicit drug deaths are men and almost 75 per cent involve someone between the ages of 30-59. Most of these deaths occur indoors, and none have been reported from supervised consumption sites or overdose prevention sites, according to a release from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and the BC Coroners Service.

Cities with the highest number of deaths include Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.


 

@ragnarhaagen
ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Performing Arts Centre gets extension

Penticton City Council gives group an extension for arts centre lot

Inmate suing Okanagan Correctional over alleged assault

Inmate claims an officer grabbed him by the throat and threw him onto the bed

Indigenous hockey legend skates through Oliver

Multiple record-holder Reggie Leach attended an event honouring old Indigenous hockey players

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’

Future of Penticton the talk of the town

The city’s PenTALKton event drew a strong crowd and a large social media presence

One person sent to hospital after fire near Keremeos

Fire ripped through a shed and Winnebego at Sunkatchers RV Park Co-operative

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

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

Letter to the editor: Missing woman’s parents appreciate search effort

To take part in the banner drop, poster distribution and the drone… Continue reading

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

B.C. family advocating for drug decriminalization following death of son

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has noted the New Democrats would decriminalize personal possession of all drugs

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

Curtis Sagmoen will appear back in court on Dec. 14

Public against wildfire monument in Kamloops

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District announced the monument to commemorate volunteers’ efforts

Most Read