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

Campbell River’s September Mountie of the Month is a very good boy

PDS Gator named Mountie of the Month for Sept. 2020

Photographer Eiko Jones delivered the 11th Annual Haig Brown lecture at Tidemark Theatre

Jones also screened his newly completed movie Heartbeat of the River at the event

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Float-plane crash near Oyster River leaves pilot injured

The plane crashed shortly after take-off from a private property and had no other passengers on board

Quadra Golf weathers global pandemic with ‘different’ season

General manager and head pro says, despite challenges, the non-profit has done okay this year

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Abandoned Neucel mill in Port Alice to cost at least $17 million to decommission

Removing hazardous waste and de-risking the site ratchet up bill to taxpayers

Long-term care study credits fewer COVID deaths in B.C. than Ont. to funding, policy

The study was published Wednesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal

Most Read