91 percent of fatal overdoses in Northern BC involved fentanyl

Overdose deaths were near record high in March

That's nearly as high as the 162 people who died in December 2016, the highest monthly total since the coroners service began collecting statistics. Meanwhile, there have been no deaths at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites in the province since opening in 2016 and 2017.

There was a 58 per cent increase in overdose deaths in B.C.in comparison with the last month surveyed.

Carfentanil, which is even more potent than fentanyl, was detected in 81 overdose deaths between June last year and the end of March of this year.

During the first three months of the year, Kamloops recorded 12 illicit-drug overdose deaths, which has the city on pace to register the most such deaths in a calendar year.

The majority of decedents died indoors (90.5%).

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After recording nine deaths in the first two months of the year, Northern Health recorded 13 deaths in March alone, bringing the yearly total to 22.

There were 1,448 suspected deaths from illicit drugs in 2017.

About eight in 10 of the 391 deaths between January and March were due to the illicit versions of the painkiller fentanyl, according to toxicology reports by the coroners service. The fatality rate in Northeast B.C.is below the provincial average at 27 deaths per 100,000, while the Northern Health rate as a whole was the second-lowest in B.C.at 30.8 deaths per 100,000.

Despite the efforts, however, overdose deaths in 2018 are on par with record numbers seen past year, when 400 people died between January and the end of March. Those using substances should have someone nearby equipped and trained to administer naloxone or able to call 911 immediately if an overdose occurs.

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