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

Just Posted

Man ‘seriously’ injured in crash after driving wrong way on Highway 17: Surrey RCMP

Police say the sedan hit a transport truck, then another car

Easter ‘eggstravaganza’ event planned for South Surrey

Event is to run from 12-3 p.m. at Dufferin Park (17355 2 Ave.).

IHIT hunting in Edmonton for clues to 2017 Surrey homicide

Tanner Krupa, 19 was found dead in an alley in August 2017, in the 6900-block of 127A Street

Update: Surrey Mounties found missing man

Kuldip Sandhu, 41, had been reported missing

Surrey youth ‘REWIRE’ in play-creating project that involves a lunar eclipse and video games

‘It was such a fun process to create a play from scratch,’ says Guildford Park Secondary student

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Rare ‘Snow Tower’ tree blooming in Vancouver city park

A plant rarely grown in Canada is now flowering at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Most Read