160 people were fatally overdosed in British Columbia in May as drug toxicity continues to rise – Abbotsford News


Another 160 people lost their lives in May due to the overdose crisis in British Columbia.

Data for May was released by the BC Coroners Service on Tuesday morning, June 29, marking the 13th consecutive month with more than 150 deaths. The number of deaths in May equates to 5.2 people dying every day.

Deaths in May bring the total number of deaths for 2021 to 851, the highest on record in the first five months of the year.

Toxicology results show that 27% of samples in April and 25% of those tested in May contained extreme levels – over 50 micrograms per liter – of fentanyl, the highest levels reported since at least early 2019.

Carfentanil, a more potent analogue of fentanyl, has now been detected in 75 deaths in 2021, up from 65 in 2020 as a whole. Sixty percent of the results reported in May also detected benzodiazepines, which do not respond to naloxone. .

Fentanyl has been detected in 85% of deaths this year, although the results are preliminary and may change. Overall, the percentage of illicit drug-related deaths with fentanyl detection increased from 5% in 2012 to 86% in 2020.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to wane, we must turn our attention to tackling the other public health emergency in British Columbia with the same sense of urgency,” the Chief Coroner said Lisa Lapointe. “We need to ensure that safe alternatives to toxic illicit drugs are available across the province and that we take meaningful steps to reduce stigma and provide people who use substances with access to the supports they need and seek.” . “

The majority of fatal overdoses continue to take place indoors, with 55.6% in private residences while 26.8% occur in other residences in 2021. Approximately 13.9% occur in outside.

Men continue to die at a much higher rate than women; in 2021, 80 percent of fatal overdoses were men, while 20 percent were women.

Vancouver has recorded the highest number of overdose deaths so far this year at 199, with Surrey at 108 and Victoria at 65. Fraser Health has recorded the highest number of illicit drug-related deaths at 291, along with Vancouver Coastal Health with 233 and Island Health with 139.

However, Northern Health had the highest death rate at 48.1 per 100,000, followed by Vancouver Coastal Health at 45.7 per 100,000. Fraser Health had the lowest at 35.5 per 100,000.

In a statement, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson offered her “deepest condolences” to the loved ones of those who lost their lives.

“” With more than five people dying every day in British Columbia from poisonous and unpredictable drugs, it is especially important to understand that toxic drugs are circulating and that people need to take every precaution when taking them. More people die from smoking and / or inhaling drugs than from injecting, ”said Malcolmson.

“People who use drugs recreationally and regularly are all at high risk. If you plan to use – whether at home, at a party, or at an event, know how to stay safe – it can be the difference between life and death.

Malcomson urged people not to use alone and download the Lifeguard app if they use drugs.


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