Six volunteer firefighters from the Mesachie Lake fire department learn how to administer naloxone to overdose victims.

May numbers: Four deaths per day caused by illicit drugs

The BC Coroners Service says 129 people died during the month of May, slightly down from 136 deaths in April.

The illicit drug crisis in British Columbia continues to take more lives as recent data shows more than 100 people died during the month of May.

Before November 2016, the province had never seen as many as 100 deaths in a single month. Now, and in every month since, numbers routinely exceed 110.

This jump in drug-related deaths culminated in December when numbers reached an all-time high of 159 deaths in that month alone.

Research from the BC Coroners Service also shows the proportion of illicit drug deaths where fentanyl was detected continues to climb. Last year, roughly 60 per cent of of these deaths included fentanyl, but that number has risen to 72 per cent through the first four months of 2017.

Overdose deaths by city
Create your own infographics

“The number of deaths shows that the risks remain extreme,” said Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe, adding that people should avoid experimentation or any casual use of illicit drugs.

“The drug supply is unsafe, and casual and occasional users are at high risk of overdose due to their opioid naiveté.”

Lapointe also urges those who are drug-dependent to only use when medical help is available, such as an overdose prevention site or in the company of a sober person with access or training in the use of naloxone.

Some signs of a possible overdose include:

  • Heavy snoring
  • Inability to wake them up
  • Respiratory distress

More than 80 per cent of illicit drug deaths are men and almost 75 per cent involve someone between the ages of 30-59. Most of these deaths occur indoors, and none have been reported from supervised consumption sites or overdose prevention sites, according to a release from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and the BC Coroners Service.

Cities with the highest number of deaths include Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.


 

@ragnarhaagen
ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Visiting Vees pound West Kelowna Warriors

The Vees got hat tricks from two players en route to an 11-3 win

Food hamper program in need of more donations

More than 125 hampers are given out to residents of the Lower Similkameen before Christmas.

Alleged affair leads to assault in Princeton

Remorse and a clean record result in suspended sentence

Pepperoni costs Hedley man $500

A Hedley man enjoyed a snack and then refused to pay for it - landing him in court

OSNS #SmileWithOtis making the rounds in Penticton

The 38th annual Shaw Share a Smile Telethon in support of OSNS is Saturday

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Biosphere designation boosts national park drive

Certification outlines conservation as key part of sustainable tourism development

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Most Read