(File photo)

Average of 15 die of overdose each month in Surrey

More than 1,000 people have been killed by drugs so far this year in B.C.

An average of 15 people have died of overdose each month in Surrey in 2017.

In all, 123 people have been killed by illicit drugs in the city so far this year, as of the end of August.

The death toll in Surrey peaked in May, with 21 deaths that month.

Thirteen people died in January, 15 in February, 14 in March, 12 in April, 13 in June, 17 in July and 18 in August.

Surrey’s drug death toll this year is second only to Vancouver, which has seen 255 people killed so far this year.

Meantime, B.C. has hit a record number of illicit overdose deaths.

In all, 1,013 people in B.C. have died as a result of the overdose crisis in 2017, which is 83 more than the total death toll in all of 2016.

In August, the latest numbers available from the BC Coroners Service, 113 people are suspected to have died of drug overdose, which equates to about 3.6 deaths per day for the month.

The August deaths are a 79 per cent increase over the same month in 2016.

See also: More than 1,000 people have died as a result of the overdose crisis in 2017

The Coroners Service says 88.5 per cent of all drug overdose deaths happened inside and 11 per cent outside or in vehicles.

Not a single death has been reported at supervised consumption sites.

The worsening overdose crisis led the BC Centre on Substance Use to release guidelines on injection opioid treatment on Tuesday (Oct. 10).

Over four-fifths of the deaths in 2017 remain fentanyl related. In both 2016 and 2017, fentanyl-related deaths remain the most prevalent. Almost two-thirds of overdose deaths in B.C. over those two years had fentanyl detected, while less than have had cocaine and only one-third had heroin.

“It’s heartbreaking to see the continued high numbers of deaths throughout the province despite the numerous initiatives and harm-reduction measures in place,” said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. “We also need people to know that no illicit substance in this province can be considered safe, whether you know your dealer or not.”

-With files from Katya Slepian



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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