(Files by Justin Madu-MyPGNow)

The BC Coroners Service’s report on illicit drug deaths for March 2020 has identified Northern Health as having the highest rate of deaths of the provincial health authorities for this calendar year.

Northern Health has 29 illicit drug deaths per 100,000 individuals, while Interior Health follows in second place with 23 deaths per 100,000.

113 British Columbians died in March due to suspected illicit drug toxicity – the monthly death toll has not exceeded 100 since March 2019.

March 2020 saw 61% more deaths than February, but 3% fewer than March of the previous year.

Compared to the January and February 2020 averages, the increase in March occurred in every health authority.

In 2020, 73% of illicit drug toxicity deaths occurred in individuals between ages 19 and 49.

Data suggests that 70% of illicit drug toxicity deaths involve fentanyl this year, while it was detected in 86% of deaths last year.