Surrey has had more than 100 fatal overdoses in the first seven months of 2020, surpassed only by Vancouver at 223.
Since the start of the year, there have been 113 overdose deaths, according to the latest data released by the BC Coroners Service on Tuesday (Aug. 25).
That’s roughly one person dying every two days from an overdose.
The seven-month total, however, has almost surpassed the number of overdose deaths in Surrey in 2019.
Last year saw 123 fatal overdoses in the city, which was down from the previous year. In 2018, roughly one person died every two days.
Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe called the deaths “profound and tragic.”
Drug overdoses have killed nearly 6,000 people in B.C. The number of people dying of overdoses in the province continues to surpass deaths due to homicides, motor vehicle incidents, suicides and COVID-19 combined, she added.
“We continue to see an increase in death due to extreme fentanyl concentration,” Lapointe said. Fentanyl has been present in 78 per cent of deaths so far in 2020.
Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria are the three municipalities in the province experiencing the highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths in 2020.
Fraser Health (285 deaths) and Vancouver Coastal Health (254 deaths) have had the highest number of overdose deaths, making up 59 per cent of drug toxicity deaths during this period.
In total, the province recorded 175 fatal overdoses in July, pushing the total deaths from illicit drugs in B.C. to 909 this year.
That’s compared to the 618 deaths in the first seven months of 2019.
July marked the third month in a row where overdose deaths topped 170, and was down just two from a record-breaking month in may when 177 people died.
– With files from Katya Slepian