(Files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)
November was another tragic month in regards to the illicit drug crisis in BC with an average of over five deaths per day.
According to the BC Coroners Service, 153 suspected drug toxicity deaths occurred last month, that’s an 89% increase when compared to the same month last year (81), and a 7% decrease over the number of deaths from October of this year(164).
77% of deaths in November saw some level of fentanyl detected.
In addition, Northern Health has recorded 93 fentanyl-detected deaths so far this year, almost doubling last year’s mark of 53.
“Tragically, as we reach the end of 2020, our province is facing a record-breaking year for lives lost due to a toxic illicit drug supply,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner.
“In the five years of this public health emergency, more than 6,500 families have experienced the grief and sadness of losing a loved one to the challenging medical condition of drug addiction. I extend my sincere condolences to all of those grieving a family member, friend or colleague due to this disease.”
The Coroner Service added the Northern Interior Health Service Delivery Area which encompasses PG-Quesnel-Burns Lake and the Robson Valley has seen 57 fentanyl-detected deaths this year.
There have been 1,548 illicit drug deaths to date in B.C.
Toxicology results suggest a greater number of cases with extreme fentanyl concentrations from April to November compared with previous months.
In 2020, 70% of those deaths were aged 30 to 59.
Males have accounted for 81% of deaths in 2020 to date.
So far this year, 55% of illicit drug toxicity deaths have occurred in private residences.
No deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.