An average of 4 people died from illicit drug use every day this May reports the BC Coroners Service.
A total of 129 British Columbians died of overdose in May 2017 – that’s a 158% increase over May 2016. Until November 2016, B.C. had never seen as many as 100 drug deaths in a single month. In every month since then, the number has exceeded 110, with the all-time high being December 2016 with 159 deaths.
The total overdose death toll for 2017 is now 640 people. That’s nearly twice the number at this time last year. 2016 is currently the deadliest year on record for overdoses in BC but it looks like 2017 will be even deadlier and officials are expecting over 1200 deaths with 7 more months before year’s end.
“The number of deaths shows that the risks remain extreme,” said Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe, in a statement. “The drug supply is unsafe, and casual and occasional users are at high risk of overdose due to their opioid naiveté.”
The BC Coroners Service says that the proportion of illicit drug deaths where fentanyl was detected continues to climb. During 2016, the proportion of fentanyl-related deaths stayed the same at about 60% but in the first four months of 2017, that figure rose to 72%, indicating continued toxicity within the drug supply.