The BC Coroners Service is reporting a spike in illicit drug toxicity deaths.
Key findings of these drug death reports to the end of March 2020 include:
- In March, there were 113 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths. Exceeding 100 deaths in a month has not occurred since March 2019. These 113 deaths represent a three percent decrease in the number of deaths seen in March 2019. This is a 61 percent jump from the number of deaths in February 2020.
- Compared to the January and February 2020 average, there was an increase in March in every health authority, notably in Fraser (91 percent increase) and Island health (80 percent increase).
- The March 2019 average (117) was also higher than the January and February 2019 average (89).
- To date, males accounted for 76 percent of deaths in 2020, similar to 2019 with 76 percent, and slightly lower than in 2018 with 80 percent.
- In 2020, 73 percent of those dying were aged 19 to 49. In 2019 and 2018, 68 percent were in this age range.
- By health authority, Northern Health has the highest rate of illicit drug toxicity deaths, followed by Interior Health in 2020.
- From 2018 to March 2020, the rates of illicit drug toxicity deaths are highest in Hope, Fort Nelson, North Thompson, Lillooet and Arrow Lakes.
- No deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.