Fentanyl detected in 81% of overdose deaths, BC Coroners Service says

About three people died per day of an overdose in the month of July, according to the latest numbers released by the B.C. Coroners Service. More specifically, 706 of the 876 drug deaths involved fentanyl; which is a 143 per cent increase over the same seven-month period in 2016. Most of the cases also found other illicit drugs, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

The total overdose death count for 2017 so far is now 876, up from 482 at this time past year.

In November, the RCMP signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s public security ministry to work together to fight the illegal trafficking of fentanyl into Canada.

Vancouver has had the highest number of fentanyl-detected deaths so far in 2017, with 170 deaths, followed by Surrey with 80 deaths and Victoria with 52 deaths.

The overdose-reversal drug naloxone has been widely distributed in B.C., with many friends and families of drug users trained to use the medication.

Northern Health has seen 31 total overdose deaths since the beginning of the year.

The service says 876 people died in B.C. between January and July, up from 483 fatalities during the same months past year.

Meanwhile, carfentanil – an opioid that’s 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants – was detected in 13 drug overdose deaths in June and July, the report says.

Despite the decrease, the majority of deaths are still occurring indoors and hitting men aged 30 to 39 the hardest, the report shows. “This presents huge challenges for those using illicit drugs and the risk is high”, Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement.

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