September least deadly month for drug overdose this year: coroner

Carfentanil was detected in 37 deaths between June and September

A bit of good news on the opioid crisis in B.C.: September saw the lowest number of overdose deaths recorded in any month of 2017.

According to the BC Coroners Service, 80 people died of illicit drug overdoses that month. That’s 28 fewer than in July, the second lowest month this year. It reflects a downward trend in fatalities since June.

READ MORE: B.C. hits record number of illicit drug overdose deaths in August

However, 61 per cent more people died September 2017 compared to the same month last year.

Slightly more than 1,100 people have died of overdoses in B.C. in 2017, almost 500 more than at this time last year.

Fentanyl continues to kill

The coroner links the increased fatality rate to an increase in fentanyl, which was present in more than four-fifths of all deaths this year. That’s up from two-thirds in 2016.

Fentanyl, the painkiller that’s 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, continued to be detected in more than four-fifths of those fatal overdoses, while the even more powerful carfentanil was detected in 37 deaths so far between June and September.

Police forces across B.C. have remarked that they now expect fentanyl to be found during drug busts, whereas several years ago it was a rarity.

The amount of fentanyl shipped into B.C. has increased dramatically compared to last year.

According to the Canadian Border Security Agency, the amount of fentanyl seized has increased by 70 per cent to almost 3,000 grams.

Breaking down the stats

Four-fifths of those who died were men and almost three out of five were between the ages of 30 and 59.

Vancouver Coastal Health continued to have the highest rate of overdose-related deaths and that rate has grown by 60 per cent since last year – the largest increase across all health authorities.

As the most populated health authority, Fraser Health had the highest overall number of overdoses – 364 compared to Vancouver Coastal Health’s 334 – but the second lowest rate of overdose deaths province-wide.

Together, the two health authorities accounted for 63 per cent of the overdose deaths so far this year.

Nine out of 10 overdose deaths occurred inside and just under two-thirds of those occurred in private residences.

There were no deaths at supervised consumption sites.

The coroners’ statistics found more fatal overdoses happened on Wednesdays and Fridays, the days after income assistance was paid out.

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Column: One parenting book certainly doesn’t fit all

Like the fingerprints they are born with – each child is different.… Continue reading

Ryga Arts Festival to include virtual and in-person events

Arts festival in Summerland will run from Aug. 15 to 23

Okanagan and Shuswap MPs want federal funds to help stop invasive species

Concerns raised that spending favours Eastern Canada.

Summerland Ornamental Gardens remain closed

Staff and volunteers continue to weed and maintain plants

Canada’s deficit result of investing in Canadians: Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity

Minister Mona Fortier said the government is working on the next steps as the economy restarts

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read