British Columbia Coroners Service – Comox Valley Record
The latest data from the BC Coroners Service shows that five people per day lose their lives due to overdoses of illicit drugs.
The Coroners Service released updated reports on illicit drug toxicity deaths and drug-related deaths detected by fentanyl as of October 31. In October, 162 deaths linked to the toxicity of illicit drugs were reported.
“This is the fifth month this year with more than 160 suspected illicit drug deaths reported to the BC Coroners Service and more than double the number of people dying as a result of a toxic drug supply in October 2019, ”said Lisa Lapointe, Chief. coroner. “We continue to see record numbers of people dying in British Columbia due to a supply of unsafe drugs in our province, and it is wreaking havoc on families and communities in this dual health emergency. Challenges during COVID-19, such as access to key harm reduction services and the supply of toxic drugs, including the extreme concentration of illicit fentanyl, are causing continued significant and tragic loss of life across the province . Our hearts go out to those who mourn the loss of family, friends and colleagues.
“We encourage clinicians to support those at risk of overdose by prescribing a safe supply and reducing the number of lives lost to toxic substances. We also continue to advocate for an accessible, evidence-based, and accountable treatment and recovery system for anyone with problematic substance use who seeks this medical assistance. “
The 162 deaths in October 2020 represent a 116% increase since October 2019. The BC Coroners Service has detected a sustained increase in illicit drug toxicity-related deaths since March. The province has recorded eight consecutive months with more than 100 deaths linked to the toxicity of illicit drugs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on the overdose crisis in British Columbia,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “The supply of highly toxic drugs that exists in our communities right now is exacerbated. This latest report shows the tragic impact of this crisis on British Columbians, and it is a problem for all of us. Now more than ever, we need to eliminate the stigma of drug use and the shame people feel that prevents them from seeking help or telling their friends and family about it.
Data from post-mortem toxicology tests published in this report again suggest an increase in the number of cases with extreme concentrations of fentanyl (exceeding 50 micrograms per liter) from April to October, compared to previous months.
There have been 1,386 illicit drug-related deaths to date in 2020 in British Columbia. The number of deaths in each health authority is equal to or close to the highest monthly total on record. Each of these deaths has a significant impact on loved ones, family members and communities.