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Abbotsford saw 19 drug overdose deaths in January and February: BC Coroner

Abbotsford lands fourth on list of B.C. cities with high numbers of overdose deaths
Paramedics respond to a drug-related call at the Abbotsford Community Hub on Feb. 9, 2022, interrupting an event to highlight the increasing number of overdoses in the area. (Jessica Peters/ Abbotsford News file)

Abbotsford has had at least 19 overdose deaths already in 2022.

A new report from the BC Coroners Service was released this week, listing the 15 cities with the highest numbers of illicit drug toxicity deaths in January and February.

Abbotsford was fourth on the list, below Vancouver with 95 deaths, Surrey with 30, and Victoria which had 22 deaths. Chilliwack was 11th on the list with eight deaths in the two months.

In February, the Abbotsford News attended a ceremony for people lost recently to overdose. At that event, some of the names read off were people who had died just days before. Two of the names read were a mother and her daughter.

VIDEO: Name-burning ceremony honours those lost to overdose crisis in Abbotsford

As previously reported, 2021 was the worst year on record for overdose deaths for many B.C. cities, including Abbotsford where there were 86 such deaths. That number has been steadily rising since at least 2012. That year, there were seven overdose deaths in Abbotsford, and 270 in all of B.C.

In all of Fraser Health, there were 71 overdose deaths in January and 50 in February. That signifies a drop from November and December 2021, which had 77 and 84 deaths respectively.

In 2022, 74 per cent of those dying were aged 30 to 59, and 78 per cent were male.

The vast majority of overdoses take place inside a home. The report states that 86 per cent of illicit drug toxicity deaths occurred inside (56 per cent in private residences and 29 per cent in other residences including social and supportive housing, shelters, hotels and other indoor locations) and 13 per cent occurred outside in vehicles, sidewalks, streets and parks.

A small number of these deaths have taken place at worksites.

The BC Coroners Service data includes deaths involving street drugs (heroin, cocaine, MDMA, methamphetamine, illicit fentanyl etc.), medications not prescribed to the person but obtained on the street, and combinations of the above with prescribed medications.

READ MORE: 174 British Columbians – 6 under the age of 19 – died of toxic drug poisonings in February

To learn more about where to find help, and what is being in Abbotsford to help people overcome addictions, click here to read our OVERDOSE PREVENTION GUIDE


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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