Emergency crews tended to an overdosed patient in downtown Kamloops in November. KTW file photo

Overdose deaths down 30% so far in 2019, B.C. officials ‘cautiously optimistic’

In May, 84 lives were claimed by illicit drugs, or between two and three deaths each day

The number of fatal drug overdoses across the province is down 30 per cent in the first five months of the year – a sign for cautious optimism, the BC Coroner Service says.

There were 462 overdose deaths between January and May, all caused by the illicit drug supply, according to stats released Thursday by the coroner. That’s compared to 651 deaths that occurred over the same time period in 2018, when B.C. saw a record-breaking number drug fatalities.

READ MORE: B.C. opioid overdoses still killing four people a day, health officials say

In May, 84 lives were claimed by illicit drugs, or between two and three deaths each day. Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria remain the cities seeing the highest number of deaths.

READ MORE: First Nation chiefs call for B.C. to declare state of emergency over opioid crisis

While the number of deaths during those five months is likely to increase as post-mortem test results are received, the coroners service said it’s a sign that the death toll may be plateauing.

There are still concerning trends, however. Carfentanil, a tranquilizer used for elephants and other large animals, has been found in 102 fentanyl-detected deaths this year, compared to 35 such deaths in 2018.

Roughly nine in every 10 overdose deaths are still occurring indoors, including more than half in private homes.

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

OUR VIEW: Trudeau’s lost opportunity in Surrey – again

Cabinet has five MPs from the West while Ontario gets 17, Quebec gets 11, and Atlantic provinces, four

Surrey Schools receiving $21K for mental health programs

Each district in B.C. is receiving a portion of the $2-million grant from the province

Coroner’s inquest jury into Surrey Pretrial death calls for improvements

John Michael Murphy, 25, died on Aug. 3, 2016 after a fight with his cellmate

UPDATE: Pedestrian dies after train collision in Cloverdale

Police say the investigation is in the early stages

Sci-fi ‘Shipment’ arrives for first-time Surrey film director and actor daughter

Bobby Bala’s short movie was ‘quite the grind’ to make, starting in 2015

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

SkyTrain workers vote 96.8% in favour of job action, union says

CUPE 7000’s main issues have been wages, staffing, overtime and sick leave

Federal laws at heart of West’s anger up for debate, as Liberals begin outreach

Vancouver mayor to Trudeau’s western critics: ‘Get over yourselves’

Snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011

Teen developed ‘popcorn lung’ due to vaping: Ontario doctors

Boy went from being in perfect health to being on life support after just five months

B.C. judge tosses ‘N’ driver’s claim he was just using phone to decline his mom’s call

Distracted driving laws are more strict for Class 7, or Novice drivers, the judge noted

Check on elderly neighbours as Metro Vancouver transit shutdown looms: care providers

Three-day lockout by bus operators is imminent if an agreement is not reached between Unifor and Coast Mountain

Convicted child kidnapper remains threat to public: VPD

Brian Abrosimo is living in Vancouver as his sentence nears its end

What’s happening: week of Nov. 14

Events and community listings for North Delta

Most Read