UPDATE: Overdose deaths down in January, but risk still ‘extreme’: coroner

An average of seven people died every two days last month, according to the latest numbers.

A total of 116 people in B.C. died of an illicit drug overdose in the first month of 2017, according to a new B.C. Coroners Service report released Friday.

That’s an average of seven deaths every two days in January – the third highest rate of deaths per month in recent months. December still saw the most deaths – 142. A total of 914 British Columbians died of a drug overdose in 2016.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says the risks of illicit drug use “remain extreme.”

The highest number of overdose deaths occurred in Vancouver last month, with 45. Nine people died in Surrey, down 16 from December.

Eighteen people died of overdoses on Vancouver Island.

And in the Interior Health region, which had the second-highest overdose rate, eight people died in Kelowna, and five in Kamloops.

More than 90 per cent of all overdose deaths occurred indoors, the report said, but none of them at supervised consumption sites or overdose prevention sites.

RELATED: Overdose prevention sites coming to three B.C. cities

Lapointe noted many of those who have died are addicted and have not succeeded through a variety of treatment programs.

“For these people, I think we would be wise to seriously consider the carefully considered suggestion made by provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall – the possibility of providing clean, medical-grade heroin to that small subset of users for whom nothing else has worked,” she said.


@ashwadhwaniashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.caLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Oak Bay’s new music fest returns next weekend

All festival concerts take place on June 2 and 3 at St. Mary’s Anglican Church

Cyclists win Bike to Work Week’s Commuter Challenge kickoff

16 teams of cars vs. bikes raced to see who could reach downtown destination fastest

Victoria Cool Aid Society invites you to their Homecoming

Event celebrates 50 years of social services across Greater Victoria with fundraiser to keep programs running

Fort Street bike lanes making their debut with roll-out event Sunday

Completion marks the second east-west connector dedicated to downtown cyclists

City shifts gears on Cook Street bike lanes, Vancouver St. recommended instead

Cook said to be too expensive, to inconvenient to install dedicated lanes

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

Saoirse Ronan continues to shine in adaptation Ian McEwan novel about young newlyweds on their wedding day

Burlesque performers don’t let theatre fire stop their show

Cheesecake Burlesque Revue raising money for PEERS with Saturday night performance of Hot Pink

Free mixed media camp offered to youth

Camp hosted on Denman Island

Reading between the lines: the many roles of the Victoria Literacy Connection

Saturday fundraiser to help volunteer-run organization teach people to read, write and more

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

Saoirse Ronan continues to shine in adaptation Ian McEwan novel about young newlyweds on their wedding day

Mulroney children to act as bridesmaids-page boys at royal wedding

Ben and Jessica Mulroney’s children will be in Saturday’s royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

St. Luke’s brings whodunnit to the stage

Laura plays at St. Luke’s Hall from May 16 to 27

VIDEO: Let the good times roll in first Laketown Shakedown

With Current Swell and Jon and Roy as headliners, there’s lots to enjoy at this first in a series

Most Read