FILE - In this June 6, 2017, file photo, a reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly after a news conference about deaths from fentanyl exposure, at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Overdose deaths are continuing to decrease at promising rates in B.C. but five people are still dying every two days due to a toxic drug supply.

There were 690 drug deaths between January and August, according to data released by the BC Coroners Service Wednesday, marking a 33 per cent drop in drug-related fatalities in the first eight months of 2019 compared to last year. A reported 1,037 people died from illicit drugs within the same time period last year and 1,083 people in 2017.

Seventy-nine deaths were drug related in August, marking a general decline month-over-month since January.

ALSO READ: ‘A balanced view’: How to talk to kids about B.C.’s overdose crisis

READ MORE: Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem

Despite the reprieve in the ongoing overdose crisis, street-level fentanyl remains a prominent cause of overdose deaths and has been detected in 85 per cent of all toxicity reports.

Illicit carfentanil, a drug 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and used to sedate large animals, has been detected in 119 fatal overdoses – a 240 per cent spike from the 35 deaths seen last year.

By local area, the highest rates of illicit drug deaths are in the small communities of Princeton, Grand Forks and Hope. The lions share of these kinds of deaths remain in Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.

READ MORE: Carfentanil, an opioid more toxic than fentanyl, linked to more deaths in B.C.

READ MORE: ‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Plea deal results in guilty plea in fatal Langley shooting in 2017

First degree murder charge amended to conspiracy to commit murder

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

Abbotsford considers hiking development fees for new houses – and schools and churches

City considers hiking development cost charges on new institutional and agriculture buildings

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read