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HomeNews2022 shaping up as possible record-breaker in terms of illicit drug deaths

2022 shaping up as possible record-breaker in terms of illicit drug deaths

More grim numbers today from the BC Coroners Service on the number of suspected drug overdoses so far in 2022.

Northern Health continues to have the highest rate of death out of the health authorities at 56.1 people per 100 thousand.

There have been 143 suspected illicit drug deaths through October, and there were 155 in all of 2021.

Interior Health has a death rate of 45.3 people per 100,000.

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“Despite the efforts of many, this public-health emergency continues to devastate families throughout our province,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. “The increased toxicity and variability of the illicit drug supply has created an environment where everyone who uses substances is at risk. This vulnerability is even greater for individuals who live outside the urban centres where the limited number of safer supply programs are currently focused.”

Breaking it down further, the Northern Interior Health Service Delivery area, which includes Quesnel, has had 78 suspected overdoses so far this year.

There were 81 in all of 2021.

And the Cariboo/Chilcotin Health Service Delivery Area, which includes Williams Lake and 100 Mile House, has had 121 suspected overdoses so far this year.

There were 149 in 2021.

Province-wide, there were 5.8 suspected illicit drug deaths per day in October.

“This is not a matter of choosing one approach over another,” Lapointe said. “The recommendations from both the Standing Committee on Health and two BC Coroners Service death review panels are clear: we must create a comprehensive continuum of care that supports people with substance-use disorders, and we must improve access to evidence-based options for treatment and recovery. Most importantly, as those reports recommended, it is imperative that access to safer supply is available in all areas of the province.”

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