Illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C. have already eclipsed 2016 totals
Fentanyl-containing tablets are shown in this undated file photo.
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, October 12, 2017 11:59AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 12, 2017 12:03PM PDT
The opioid crisis shows no signs of slowing down as new numbers show a spike in the number of overdose deaths in the province and here on Vancouver Island.
The number of people killed by illicit drug overdose deaths on Vancouver Island through August of this year has already caught up to last year's totals, according to the latest report from the BC Coroners Service.
Through August 2017, 158 people were killed by overdoses in Island Health's jurisdiction. The same amount of people died from overdoses on the island in all of 2016.
It follows a rising trend of overdose deaths in the province – 1,013 people were killed by overdoses in B.C. through August this year versus the record-breaking 982 deaths for all of 2016.
The numbers also show that the deadly opioid fentanyl is playing an even larger role in the crisis.
According to the coroner's report, preliminary data suggests fentanyl was detected in approximately 81 per cent of deaths from January to August 2017.
Fentanyl was only detected in about 67 per cent of deaths in 2016.
On Vancouver Island, fentanyl was detected in 141 of the 158 overdose deaths through August of this year, or about 89 per cent.
The report says that Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria have seen the highest number of illicit drug overdoses this year.
None of the overdose deaths occurred at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites, the BC Coroners Service says.
The province describes illicit drugs as controlled and illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, MDMA and methamphetamines, and non-prescribed medications obtained from the street.