Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy speaking at Fraser Health’s announcement of expanded services at Roshni Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 7. Darcy also spoke about the number of people killed in B.C. in 2018 due to opioid overdoses. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Roughly one person died every two days from drug overdoses in Surrey

1,489 people died from drug overdoses in the province last year

More than 200 people died from drug overdoses in Surrey last year.

According to statistics released by the B.C. Coroner Service on Thursday (Feb. 7), 210 people died in Surrey due to illicit drug overdose deaths in 2018. Throughout the province, 1,489 people died from a drug overdose.

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

That’s roughly more than one person dying every two days in the city.

Surrey was surpassed only by Vancouver which had 382 overdose deaths in 2018.

During an announcement on the expansion of Roshni Clinic, aimed at supporting people in the South Asian community who are struggling with substance abuse, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy said a “horrifically high” number of people died from overdoses in 2018.

RELATED: Surrey clinic for South Asians struggling with substance abuse expands hours

“Earlier today, the B.C. Coroner’s office announced that 1,489 people died last year as a result of an unintentional overdose because of poisoned street drugs; 1,489 people, let that number sink in for a minute. Five hundred of those people died here in Fraser Health, 210 died in Surrey,” Darcy said.

“We can never lose sight of the fact that these numbers represent real people and real families who are devastated by their loss; families here in Surrey and across British Columbia and my heart breaks for the families who have experienced that loss and continue to as a direct result of this relentless poisoned drug crisis.”

Speaking to reporters at the B.C. legislature in Victoria, the province’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe called the illicit drug supply on the streets unpredictable and unmanageable.

“The almost 1,500 deaths in B.C. in 2018 due to illicit drug overdoses far outweigh the numbers of people dying from motor vehicle incidents, homicides and suicides combined,” she said.

“Innovative and evidence-based approaches are necessary if we want to effect meaningful change and stop the dying. We need to be prepared to do things differently to save lives.”

According to data compiled through toxicology reports, fentanyl was detected in 85 per cent of all deaths last year, up from 82 per cent in 2017.

Nearly five times as many men died compared to women.

Also for a second year, not a single death happened at an overdose prevention site or safe consumption site.

Darcy said the provincial government has been “escalating response to this overdose crisis every month, every week, every single day,” such as scaling up naloxone distribution across B.C. and the number of overdose prevention and safe consumption sites have “nearly doubled.”

“To date, we’ve had over one million visits to these overdose prevention sites and safe consumption sites across B.C. Thousands of overdoses have been reversed and there has not been a single death.”

Darcy also said the B.C. Centre for Disease Control estimated that approximately 4,800 more people would have died from overdoses from the beginning of the crisis “if it had not been because of these life-saving efforts.”

In 2017, 178 people died in Surrey because of illicit drug overdoses.

With files from Ashley Wadhwani, Tom Fletcher

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Community fruit harvest program returns to Surrey, White Rock

Sources will send a team to harvest fruit trees, so less goes to waste

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

East White Rock crosswalk, speed bumps proposed

Report on costs and implications requested by council

White Rock dogs-on-promenade survey shows majority approval

City figures suggest that off-season program could continue

UPDATE: Pedestrian dies after being hit by bus in uptown White Rock

Collision occurred July 3 at North Bluff Road and Johnston Road

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Friends, family remember victim of Langley possible triple-homicide fire at memorial

Memorial held for one the of three found dead at a house fire in Langley Meadows last month

Fraser Valley Bandits, CEBL bringing pro sports back later this month

Abbotsford-based basketball team kicks off CEBL Summer Series on July 26

Family and friends mark birthday of teen who died after being discovered in Langley park

Carson Crimeni suffered an apparent drug overdose, his final moments broadcast on social media

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Most Read