Illicit drug deaths in B.C. dip slightly in February for second straight month

By The Canadian Press
March 17, 2017 - 1:46pm

The Canadian Press

VICTORIA — The number of illicit drug overdose deaths dropped slightly for the second straight month in February in British Columbia, but the coroner’s service says the numbers are still much higher compared with a year ago.

The service says 102 people died in February, compared with 59 in February 2016.

According to the report, eight have died so far from overdoses in Nanaimo. 

The provisional data says last month’s numbers show there was an average of more than seven deaths every two days.

Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, the coroner reports a total of 219 illicit drug deaths, up from the 143 recorded in the first two months of 2016.

Vancouver, Surrey and Kelowna reported the highest death rates since the start of the year.

The coroner says drug deaths climbed in the Vancouver Island and Northern Health authorities in February compared with one month earlier, while fatal illicit drug overdoses in other health authorities dipped over the same period.

The provincial government declared a public health emergency last spring when drug deaths, including those linked to the powerful opioid fentanyl, began to spike.

The coroner reported a record 922 deaths in 2016.

The Canadian Press

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