A new report from the BC Coroners Service shows a marked increase in fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths in the province – in fact, there has been a 211% spike since 2015.
From January to August of 2016, there were 302 drug overdoses with fentanyl, compared to just 97 in the same time period last year.
Nearly 80% of those who died were men, and 60% were between the ages of 19 and 39.
Beyond that, Fentanyl was usually not the only drug found in the person’s system at the time of death. In 207 toxicology reports of fentanyl-related overdose deaths this year, 96% had another drug in their system, primarily cocaine (46%), followed by ethyl alcohol (36%), methamphetamine (34%), and heroin (30%).
In terms of location, Vancouver saw 54 fentanyl overdoses, followed by Surrey at 34, and Victoria at 26.
Overall, 61% of all drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved fentanyl, compared to just 5% in 2012.
Back in August, a string of overdoses in short succession at supervised injection site InSite was the suspected work of fentanyl. Naloxone, an antidote to the drug, is now being carried by first responders in Vancouver.