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The overdose crisis continues to worsen in British Columbia. The month of October 2023 saw an increase in deaths of 7% compared to the month of September 2023. (Archive photo)
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The British Columbia Coroners Service reports in its latest overdose death data that 189 people lost their lives in October. Illicit drugs, primarily fentanyl, were identified in 85% of cases.
A state of health emergency to control the illicit drug crisis was declared by the province seven years ago. Despite this, their toxicity remains the leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 59, according to data from the Coroners Service.
In the first 10 months of the year, 2,039 people died of overdoses from unregulated drugs. Since the start of the crisis in April 2016, this figure has risen to 13,317 British Columbians who have died for the same reason.
Each of these lives was part of the social fabric of our province and our communities, and their absence leaves a void that cannot be filled, deplores Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
Our government continues to work hard to ensure access to effective and compassionate care, continued the minister.
If Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria experience the highest number of deaths since the start of the year, it is in the north of the province that there is the highest rate of deaths per inhabitant.
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The overdose death rate in the Northern Health area is of 61 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. The same mortality rate for the entire province is 45 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, the highest rate ever recorded.
The Coroners Service also mentions that there is no indication that safe supply contributed to deaths linked to uncontrolled drugs.
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