A photograph of a person who died due to an illicit drug overdose is tied to a tree with a purple ribbon by members of Moms Stop the Harm, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A photograph of a person who died due to an illicit drug overdose is tied to a tree with a purple ribbon by members of Moms Stop the Harm, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

1,600 British Columbians died of toxic drug poisonings in the first 9 months of 2022

A majority, or 71 per cent, of those who have fatally overdosed were between 30 to 59 years old

B.C. is on track to surpass 2,000 deaths from the toxic drug crisis for a second year in a row, according to the latest death tolls from the BC Coroners Service.

There were 171 lives lost in September, the service said in an update Monday (Nov. 7), which is equal to almost six people dying each day.

“Both those who use drugs occasionally and those who are substance-dependent are at risk of sudden death from the unpredictable illicit market,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner, in a statement.

“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.”

READ MORE: Dozens of recommendations in overdose and drug toxicity report by B.C. MLAs

A majority, or 71 per cent, of those who have fatally overdoses were between 30-59 years old. Seventy-nine per cent have been men – statistics both consistent since illicit drugs started fatally poisoning a staggering number of British Columbians in 2016.

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. At least 10,505 British Columbians have been lost to illicit drugs since the public-health emergency into substance-related harms was first declared in April 2016.

More to come.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@blackpress.ca

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