FILE - In this June 6, 2017, file photo, a reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly after a news conference about deaths from fentanyl exposure, at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Overdose deaths are continuing to decrease at promising rates in B.C. but five people are still dying every two days due to a toxic drug supply.

There were 690 drug deaths between January and August, according to data released by the BC Coroners Service Wednesday, marking a 33 per cent drop in drug-related fatalities in the first eight months of 2019 compared to last year. A reported 1,037 people died from illicit drugs within the same time period last year and 1,083 people in 2017.

Seventy-nine deaths were drug related in August, marking a general decline month-over-month since January.

ALSO READ: ‘A balanced view’: How to talk to kids about B.C.’s overdose crisis

READ MORE: Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem

Despite the reprieve in the ongoing overdose crisis, street-level fentanyl remains a prominent cause of overdose deaths and has been detected in 85 per cent of all toxicity reports.

Illicit carfentanil, a drug 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and used to sedate large animals, has been detected in 119 fatal overdoses – a 240 per cent spike from the 35 deaths seen last year.

By local area, the highest rates of illicit drug deaths are in the small communities of Princeton, Grand Forks and Hope. The lions share of these kinds of deaths remain in Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.

READ MORE: Carfentanil, an opioid more toxic than fentanyl, linked to more deaths in B.C.

READ MORE: ‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@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

Surrey Food Bank boss Feezah Jaffer on Cheerios box

It’s part of a General Mills campaign honouring food bank heroes

Surrey history buff transcribes her way to a provincial award

‘It can be tedious work but it’s also very interesting,’ Diane Johnson says

Surrey’s Alan Clegg sits down for a socially-distanced chat about his life in Cloverdale over the years

Clegg chats about his time as a volunteer firefighter, 1962’s Typhoon Freda, and how he’s been holding up during COVID-19

Appeal court overturns Surrey sexual assault acquittal, orders new trial

Appeal court judge says Surrey court failed to consider evidence of ‘passive dishonesty’

Surrey cadets need new home as COVID-19 limits options for growing 767 Dearman squadron

‘We’re now the second largest air cadet squadron in the province,’ commander says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Most Read