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.

Just Posted

Rachel Blaney ‘humbled’ as NDP incumbent earns second term

Blaney will remain MP in North Island-Powell River riding

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

ELECTION 2019: Here are the results from our 12 B.C. races to watch

Incumbents mostly won our 12 key races, but there were a few upsets too

BREAKING: Canadian Press declares NDP’s Blaney winner in North Island-Powell River

Canadian Press is declaring NDP candidate Rachel Blaney as the winner in… Continue reading

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

Misconduct investigations spike by 65% across B.C.’s municipal police forces: report

Reports overall up 15 per cent while complaints made by public down seven per cent

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Most Read