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HomeNewsDrug toxicity death rates remain high in the Cariboo

Drug toxicity death rates remain high in the Cariboo

The Health Service Delivery Areas that serve the Cariboo continue to have among the highest drug toxicity death rates in the province.

The BC Coroners Service says the Northern Interior, which includes Quesnel, has had 60.3 deaths per 100,000 people through September of this year.

That is 3rd worst out of 16.

The Thompson-Cariboo, which includes Williams Lake and 100 Mile House, is next at 60.1 deaths per 100,000.

Vancouver is the worst at 73.2.

The specific number of illicit drug deaths in the Cariboo are only available through August of this year.

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There were 5 in Quesnel, 14 in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, and 0 in 100 Mile House.

The number for the Cariboo-Chilcotin equates to 79.8 deaths per 100,000 people.

1,644 people have passed away province-wide this year from a suspected overdose.

That includes 171 in September.

“British Columbians are continuing to suffer the tragic effects of a toxic and volatile drug supply, with almost six members of our communities dying each day.” said Lisa Lapointe, Chief Coroner.

“Both those who use drugs occasionally and those who are substance-dependent are at risk of sudden death from the unpredictable illicit drug market.  Individuals who have been abstinent for a period of time or those who normally use stimulants are at increased risk. Their opioid tolerance is low and the prevalence of fentanyl in the illicit supply is high.”

The Coroners Service noted 71% of those who have died this year are between the ages of 30 and 59.

Furthermore, the public health emergency is taking its toll on older adults. For the third consecutive month, residents in the 50-59 demographic tallied the most overdose deaths by age group in BC.

This demographic also has the highest age-specific drug toxicity death rate at 76.1 followed by those in the 40-49 age range at 76.

September is the 24th consecutive month in which at least 150 deaths suspected to have been caused by illicit drug toxicity were reported to the BC Coroners Service.

Illicit drug toxicity is the leading cause of unnatural death in British Columbia and is second only to cancers in terms of years of life lost.

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