September least deadly month for drug overdose this year: coroner

Carfentanil was detected in 37 deaths between June and September

A bit of good news on the opioid crisis in B.C.: September saw the lowest number of overdose deaths recorded in any month of 2017.

According to the BC Coroners Service, 80 people died of illicit drug overdoses that month. That’s 28 fewer than in July, the second lowest month this year. It reflects a downward trend in fatalities since June.

READ MORE: B.C. hits record number of illicit drug overdose deaths in August

However, 61 per cent more people died September 2017 compared to the same month last year.

Slightly more than 1,100 people have died of overdoses in B.C. in 2017, almost 500 more than at this time last year.

Fentanyl continues to kill

The coroner links the increased fatality rate to an increase in fentanyl, which was present in more than four-fifths of all deaths this year. That’s up from two-thirds in 2016.

Fentanyl, the painkiller that’s 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, continued to be detected in more than four-fifths of those fatal overdoses, while the even more powerful carfentanil was detected in 37 deaths so far between June and September.

Police forces across B.C. have remarked that they now expect fentanyl to be found during drug busts, whereas several years ago it was a rarity.

The amount of fentanyl shipped into B.C. has increased dramatically compared to last year.

According to the Canadian Border Security Agency, the amount of fentanyl seized has increased by 70 per cent to almost 3,000 grams.

Breaking down the stats

Four-fifths of those who died were men and almost three out of five were between the ages of 30 and 59.

Vancouver Coastal Health continued to have the highest rate of overdose-related deaths and that rate has grown by 60 per cent since last year – the largest increase across all health authorities.

As the most populated health authority, Fraser Health had the highest overall number of overdoses – 364 compared to Vancouver Coastal Health’s 334 – but the second lowest rate of overdose deaths province-wide.

Together, the two health authorities accounted for 63 per cent of the overdose deaths so far this year.

Nine out of 10 overdose deaths occurred inside and just under two-thirds of those occurred in private residences.

There were no deaths at supervised consumption sites.

The coroners’ statistics found more fatal overdoses happened on Wednesdays and Fridays, the days after income assistance was paid out.

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Kelowna child care centre selected to deliver low-cost universal child care

Kelowna’s Little Scholars program has qualified

Proportional representation not proving popular with voters in Central Okanagan

With three weeks to go, fewer than 9,400 referendum votes cast in three area ridings

Dragon’s money is for education, says Lotus Liner entrepreneur JB Owen

While in Kelowna, Owen watched the Dragons invest $150,000 in the female hygiene product

Rockets lose double header to Winterhawks

Rockets fell 4-2 Sunday night

Find me my furever home

Noodle is available for adoption from the Kelowna BC SPCA

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Mother of missing Shuswap woman holds out hope she’ll be found

Nicole Bell’s mom urges public to report any information that might help

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Review: Okanagan Symphony dazzles with Verdi’s Requiem

Remembrance offering was months in the making

Video: Historic South Okanagan restaurant closes

Bittersweet ending for open mic night patrons and musicians in Penticton

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Summerland fallen soldier honoured in Alberta

Percy Broad called to the bar, more than a century after his death in battle

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Most Read