The latest drug overdose statistics from the BC Coroners Service are in, and they make for grim reading.
According to the statistics, March saw the third highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded for a single month in BC.
Provincial data shows that 120 people died as a result of drug overdose deaths in March, up from 79 during the same period last year.
To put that into context, that means on average 4 people a day died of drug overdoses in BC during March.
- 1,000 people have died from overdoses in BC in the last year
- 86% of drugs checked at Vancouver's Insite contain fentanyl
- An unthinkable tragedy: Mothers of opioid overdose victims speak out
In a release, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe noted fentanyl appears to account for the significant increase in illicit drug overdose deaths.
“The introduction of illicit fentanyl to the illegal drug market has had devastating results, with literally scores of our community members dying in their homes across the province,” she said.
“It has been just over a year since the provincial health officer’s declaration of a provincial health emergency.
“While harm reduction measures now in place are reversing thousands of overdoses, long-term measures to stem this tide must include meaningful education beginning at an early age and evidence-based treatment.”
Who is dying?
The latest statistics also help to identify those who are most at risk of overdose deaths in BC.
People aged 30-49 still accounted for the largest percentage of illicit drug overdose deaths during the first quarter of 2017.
Men and boys are also most likely to be affected, accounting for 82.7% of the suspected illicit drug overdose deaths.
As in previous months, most deaths occurred indoors, accounting for 89.1% of all illicit drug overdoses, including 54.8% in homes.
The remainder occurred outside, with 10.4% happening in vehicles.
No deaths occurred at supervised consumption sites or drug overdose prevention sites.