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

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Victoria shipyard awarded one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contracts

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Vancouver Island Western Forest Products strike gets “hot”

Federation of Labour supports striking WFP workers with ‘hot edict’; sides argue over mediation

Nanaimo mall evacuation sparked by 15-year-old with imitation gun

Police say Monday’s ‘dynamic scene’ at Woodgrove Mall handled calmly

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

WATCH: Parksville Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first extended steps in nearly three decades

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Undercover operation stings four at Island pawn shops and second hand stores

Accused face charges of attempt to possess stolen property after Campbell River arrests

Hawaiians protest massive telescope on sacred mountain

Officials close road as opponents pursue legal halt

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Mountie says his good-byes to North Island Indigenous communities

Paul Starr saluted after years of fostering reconciliation between RCMP and First Nations

Push on to establish Vancouver Island as an arts powerhouse

Island-wide conversation underway on how the arts and culture can amplify economic development

Most Read