October was another grim month for toxic drug deaths in the province as 179 lives were lost.
The number represents a 14 per cent decrease since October 2021, but a four per cent increase since September 2022 (172 deaths). The number means there were around 5.8 deaths per day.
Of those individuals, 70 per cent were male between the ages of 30 and 59. Seventy-eight per cent of all deaths were male.
Island Health saw 28 deaths during October. That is down six deaths from September (34), but up by nine compared with October 2021.
Over 300 people have died due to toxic drugs on Vancouver Island since 2012, according to data from the province.
Vancouver Coastal Health saw 53 deaths. The number is an increase of one from September, but a decrease of 12 compared to October last year.
Minister of mental health and addictions Sheila Malcolmson says her “heart goes out to the families, friends and communities that are grieving these losses.”
She adds various centres have opened in the province to aid in the crisis, and more information is coming later this week.
“On Vancouver Island, Coastal Sage Healing Centre is welcoming women and non-binary people to its treatment centre, offering culturally safe and trauma-informed services. We know there is more work to do,” said Malcolmson.
“Later this week, we will release the Adult Substance Use System of Care Framework, which was one of the recommendations of the BC Coroners Service’s 2022 Death Review Panel.
“It will guide the development of new models of substance-use care, where every person’s needs are met at every point of their recovery journey.”
The province says no deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.