Emergency crews tended to an overdosed patient in downtown Kamloops in November. KTW file photo

Overdose deaths down 30% so far in 2019, B.C. officials ‘cautiously optimistic’

In May, 84 lives were claimed by illicit drugs, or between two and three deaths each day

The number of fatal drug overdoses across the province is down 30 per cent in the first five months of the year – a sign for cautious optimism, the BC Coroner Service says.

There were 462 overdose deaths between January and May, all caused by the illicit drug supply, according to stats released Thursday by the coroner. That’s compared to 651 deaths that occurred over the same time period in 2018, when B.C. saw a record-breaking number drug fatalities.

READ MORE: B.C. opioid overdoses still killing four people a day, health officials say

In May, 84 lives were claimed by illicit drugs, or between two and three deaths each day. Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria remain the cities seeing the highest number of deaths.

READ MORE: First Nation chiefs call for B.C. to declare state of emergency over opioid crisis

While the number of deaths during those five months is likely to increase as post-mortem test results are received, the coroners service said it’s a sign that the death toll may be plateauing.

There are still concerning trends, however. Carfentanil, a tranquilizer used for elephants and other large animals, has been found in 102 fentanyl-detected deaths this year, compared to 35 such deaths in 2018.

Roughly nine in every 10 overdose deaths are still occurring indoors, including more than half in private homes.

Overdose deaths by city
Infogram


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Coming up in Cowichan: Festival, fair and Oktoberfest

Learn about fossil fuel alternatives at Charged Up! festival Sept. 21 The… Continue reading

Guest column: Inheritance under BC Law, Part II — Children & Spouses

A will-maker must fulfill any legal and moral obligations to his/her children

Drivesmart column: No, the armpit belt is not legal

The belt must be worn snugly over the pelvis and collarbone, not the neck.

Why “Weir” Ready: with Dr. Shannon Waters

This is part one of a feature series by the Cowichan Watershed Board

Robert Barron column: A Canadian hero I wish I had talked to

Almost nobody was there on that cold Newfoundland day when Terry Fox started his run

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Most Read