Brandon Jansen.

Specialized coroners unit to probe drug deaths

Following recent government funding, the BC Coroners Service has formed a new investigation team to combat illicit drug overdoses.

The BC Coroners Service has formed a specialized investigation team to combat the growing numbers of illicit drug overdose deaths in the province.

The announcement of a new Coroners Service Drug Death Investigation Team was made by chief coroner Lisa Lapointe Tuesday morning, as a way to provide enhanced investigations into accidental illicit drug deaths, and to identify trends and patterns to support prevention efforts.

“Along with our health, community and law enforcement partners, the BC Coroners Service has been deeply concerned about the rising number of illicit drug deaths in our province,” Lapointe said.

According to most recent coroners statistics, 555 B.C. residents have died between January and September from illicit drug overdoses – surpassing the 508 lives lost to drug overdoses in all of 2015.

The team’s work will be funded as part of the $10 million announced by Premier Christy Clark last month.

During Tuesday’s announcement, Lapointe also said there will be a public inquest into the death of Brandon Juhani Jansen in the New Year.

Jansen, 20, of Coquitlam, died while a resident at a substance-abuse treatment centre in Powell River in the early morning hours of March 7.

“A public inquest will provide another avenue to explore some of the issues we have found arising in these deaths and, it is hoped, for a well-informed jury to make practical and useful recommendations to help prevent similar deaths in the future,” Lapointe said.

At the inquest, set for Jan. 16, 2017, presiding coroner Michael Egilson and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts surrounding this death.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A past extreme weather response shelter set up for women inside Surrey’s Nightshift Street Ministries. (Photo: Chris Paul/nightshiftministries.org)
Homeless people in Surrey face ‘shocking and scary’ scenario this winter

Last winter there were nine Extreme Weather Response shelters in all of Surrey and White Rock. So far, during this pandemic, there are only five lined up for the coming winter

File photo
Surrey Mounties seeking dash-cam footage of Whalley road rage fight

Two men are alleged to have stabbed one another

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Fleetwood teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read