Drug overdoses in British Columbia claimed the lives 136 people in April according to the BC Coroners Service, which is almost double April 2016’s total of 69 deaths.
April statistics show that on average, 4.5 people were killed by overdoses per day in BC and last month’s statistics bring the provisional numbers for the year-to-date to 488.
At least nine out of every 10 illicit drug overdose deaths occurred indoors. Over half (54.1 %) took place in private residences.
No deaths occurred at any supervised consumption sites such as InSite or the Dr. Peter Centre.
“It is of great concern that despite the harm-reduction measures now in place and the public-safety messages issued, many people are still using illicit drugs in private residences where help is not readily available,” said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe in a release.
“I strongly urge those using illicit drugs to do so only at a safe consumption site or drug overdose prevention site, if one is accessible. If one of these sites is not accessible, please use only a small amount of the drug initially and only in the presence of someone willing and able to administer naloxone and call 911 if required.”
In 2017, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has had the highest number (171) of illicit drug overdose deaths. Fraser Health Authority followed with 145 illicit overdose deaths.
In May, Health Canada announced that it approved new supervised injection sites in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
The service will be located in a drop-in centre for people living with mental health and substance use challenges called the Powell Street Getaway, located at 528 Powell Street.