The BC Coroners Service says the number of suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in BC continues to drop month-to-month.
Numbers out today show 98 deaths in August compared with 134 in July, a 27 per cent decrease.
That’s also down 20 per cent from August of last year when 122 deaths were reported.
In total, 972 illicit drug overdose deaths have been reported to the end of August compared to one thousand 452 over the same period in 2017.
Vernon has had 17 deaths so far, down from 23 to the end of August last year.
Kelowna dropped to 40 from 76.
Ferntanyl was found in 81 per cent of all cases across the province to the end of June.
Seventy-two per cent of those who died this year were aged 30 to 59.
Those aged 19-59 accounted for 90 % of illicit drug overdose deaths.
Males made up 80% of all suspected illicit drug overdose deaths over the same period.
Meanwhile, a 2nd report report released by the BC Coroners Service provides additional details on British Columbians who have died in the illicit drug overdose crisis.
The 34-page report looked deeper into 872 completed illicit drug overdose death investigations in 2016 and 2017.
Among the findings is more than half of the decedents had a reported a clinical mental health diagnosis or showed evidence of a mental health disorder.
The investigation also found about four in every five decedents had contact with health services in the year preceding their death
More than two-thirds used drugs alone.
Other findings included:
* 45% of decedents had reported pain-related issues;
* 14% of decedents lived in social or single room occupancy housing and 9% were homeless;
* About one in every four deaths involved people, primarily males, working in trades or transport;
* 65% of decedents were never married and 18% were previously separated or divorced; and,
* 44% of decedents were employed and 51% unemployed.
The report also confirmed findings previously shared by the coroners service, including:
* Four in every five decedents were male (81%, or 707 of the 872 deaths);
* About two-thirds of decedents lived in private residences; and,
* Fentanyl was detected in just over three in every four deaths.
“Illicit drugs continue to be the source of more than three deaths per day in B.C.,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. “Our expanded analysis confirms that more than two-thirds of these illicit drug deaths in 2016 and 2017 involve people using alone and indoors. We know this leads to a higher risk for death with a toxic drug supply. We continue to urge those using substances to plan to take them in the company of someone who can provide help: administering naloxone and calling 911 for assistance.”
Read the report Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC: Findings of Coroners’ Investigations: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/birth-adoption-death-marriage-and-divorce/deaths/coroners-service/statistical/illicitdrugoverdosedeathsinbc-findingsofcoronersinvestigations-final.pdf
Read the updated report Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC (Jan. 1, 2008 – Aug. 31, 2018): https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/birth-adoption-death-marriage-and-divorce/deaths/coroners-service/statistical/illicit-drug.pdf