BC overdose deaths up 74% in 2016

Jul 13 2016, 10:12 pm

Updated statistics from the BC Coroners Service show that the number of illegal overdose deaths in BC continue to increase at an alarming rate.

A total of 371 overdose deaths were reported for the first half of 2016, representing a 74.2% increase from the same period in 2015.

The statistics show that Fentanyl continues to be one of the biggest killers, and the opioid was linked to 188 deaths between January 1 and May 30 this year.

The shocking figures come just months after a public health emergency was declared due to a spike in overdoses and drug-related deaths. It was the first time in BC’s history that a public health emergency has ever been declared, and it is also the first time a province had taken this kind of action over drug overdoses.

“While the provincial health officer always advises against the use of illicit drugs, people who do take illicit drugs should not use alone, should inject slowly and use supervised consumption services when possible,” BC Coroners Service said in a release. “Call 9-1-1 at the first sign of distress, such as trouble breathing or loss of consciousness.”