Illicit drug deaths continue to outpace COVID-19
Fentanyl remains a deadlier threat to human life in the East Kootenay than COVID-19, with 13 fentanyl-related deaths in the region so far in 2020.
The same goes for other areas of the province as people continue to die in apparent record numbers province-wide from illicit drugs, with 963 lives lost so far this year, compared to 253 lives lost to COVID-19.
The BC Coroners Service today published updated reports on illicit drug toxicity deaths to the end of September 2020.
The following are the key preliminary findings of these reports (data is subject to change):
* In September 2020, there were 127 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths. This represents a 112% increase over the number of deaths in September 2019 (60) and a 15% decrease from the number of deaths in August 2020 (150), reported the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and BC Coroners Service.
* There were about 4.2 illicit drug toxicity deaths per day in September.
* In 2020, 70% of those dying were aged 30 to 59. Males accounted for 80% of deaths.
* Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria have experienced the highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths this year.
* Both male and female illicit drug toxicity death rates have decreased in recent months from highs in May, June and July.
* Illicit drug toxicity death rates among all age groups have declined from highs in May, June and July. However, rates among people aged 40 to 59 remain at high levels.
* No deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.