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HomeNewsNorthern Health still has highest death rate related to illicit drugs

Northern Health still has highest death rate related to illicit drugs

(Files by Catherine Garrett-MyPGNow)

The BC Coroners Service says 127 lives lost in BC last month were attributed to illicit drug toxicity and 94 of those included fentanyl.

This represents a 15 percent decrease from August, which saw 150 fatalities.

However, this is still a 112% increase compared to September of 2019, which saw 60.

Northern Health continues to have the highest death rate per 100,000 people at 44.1, compared to the BC average of 31.2.

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This is up from last month, when the health authority recorded 40 deaths per 100,000 people.

“Both male and female illicit drug toxicity death rates among all age groups have decreased in recent months from highs in May, June and July,” reads the report from the BC Coroners Service.

The Coroner’s Service reports about 4.2 overdose deaths per day last month, with the majority occurring in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

In 2020, 70% of those dying were aged 30 to 59 and men accounted for 80% of deaths.

“Illicit drug toxicity death rates among all age groups have declined from highs in May, June, and July. However, rates among people aged 40 to 59 remain at high levels,” the report continues.

Post-mortem toxicology results suggest that there has been a greater number of cases with extreme fentanyl concentrations in April-September 2020 compared with previous months.

Approximately 80% of illicit drug toxicity deaths in B.C. in 2020 have fentanyl detected (963 of 1202 deaths, based on preliminary data and pending further results).

From April-September, approximately 15% of cases had extreme fentanyl concentrations as compared to 8% from Jan 2019 to March 2020.

No deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.

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