UPDATE: Overdose deaths down in January, but risk still ‘extreme’: coroner

An average of seven people died every two days last month, according to the latest numbers.

A total of 116 people in B.C. died of an illicit drug overdose in the first month of 2017, according to a new B.C. Coroners Service report released Friday.

That’s an average of seven deaths every two days in January – the third highest rate of deaths per month in recent months. December still saw the most deaths – 142. A total of 914 British Columbians died of a drug overdose in 2016.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says the risks of illicit drug use “remain extreme.”

The highest number of overdose deaths occurred in Vancouver last month, with 45. Nine people died in Surrey, down 16 from December.

Eighteen people died of overdoses on Vancouver Island.

And in the Interior Health region, which had the second-highest overdose rate, eight people died in Kelowna, and five in Kamloops.

More than 90 per cent of all overdose deaths occurred indoors, the report said, but none of them at supervised consumption sites or overdose prevention sites.

RELATED: Overdose prevention sites coming to three B.C. cities

Lapointe noted many of those who have died are addicted and have not succeeded through a variety of treatment programs.

“For these people, I think we would be wise to seriously consider the carefully considered suggestion made by provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall – the possibility of providing clean, medical-grade heroin to that small subset of users for whom nothing else has worked,” she said.


@ashwadhwaniashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.caLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Parents rally to support LGBT education in Abbotsford schools

Small demonstration held in the rain to counter anti-SOGI rhetoric

VIDEO: Government approves funding of $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

Approval comes one day after province announces funding for Soliris on a case-by-case basis

Otter Co-op Liquor Store begins construction in Aldergrove

New three-storey building will be a destination retail and wine tasting facility

Titans shooting for provincial soccer gold

Langley Fundamental squad reaches B.C. high school AA boys final

Chilliwack trustee slated to speak at Culture Guard rally

Barry Neufeld listed as honoured guest by group that rallies against LGBTQ discussions in schools

Angel trucks everywhere in Langley

The Jackmans donated a brand new truck to Kimz Angels, making that four in the fleet

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

Vigil held for woman whose remains were found on Shuswap farm

Family and friends remember Vernon resident Traci Genereaux and along with five other missing women

Brewers create anti-fascist ale

Not For Nazis Nut Brown Ale made in the Shuswap will be ready in time for Christmas

LETTER: Jumbo Valley is part of Ktunaxa territorial claim

Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

Union contests layoffs at Maple Ridge motel

Demonstration planned for today at former Quality Inn

Pitt Meadows councillor convicted of sex assault resigns from job

David Murray will retire from work with city of Port Coquitlam

3,800-plant grow-op busted on First Nation reserve

Three men face charges after RCMP bust a large drug operation on the Soowahlie Reserve near Chilliwack

B.C. boy’s social media bid to get levidrome in the Oxford dictionary goes viral

‘It’s been five weeks and has totally blown up today.’

Most Read