FILE – A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

FILE – A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. nears 500 fatal overdoses in 1st quarter of 2021; 158 deaths in March

Deaths mark a 41% increase from March of last year

The number of people who lost their lives to illicit drug overdoses in 2021 hit 498 as of March, the BC Coroner’s Service reported Thursday (April 29).

Data shows that 158 people died in March, tying the all-time record for that month, set in March 2018. It’s the most fatal overdoses ever recorded in the first three months of the year, with last month’s deaths marking a 41 per cent increase from March 2020.

Deaths continue to largely take place in private residences and no fatalities were recorded at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites. Only Vancouver Coastal Health saw more deaths in other residences such as in hotels, motels, rooming houses, single room occupancy, shelters, social and supportive housing than private ones.

So far this year, the highest number of overdose deaths have been in Fraser Health with 171 and Vancouver Coastal Health with 237, making up 62 per cent of all fatalities this year. The highest rates however were in Northern Health with 57 deaths per 100,000 and Vancouver Coastal Health with 38 per 100,000. The overall rate in B.C. is at 38 deaths per 100,000.

Preliminary data showed that 84 per cent of deaths so far this year have have been related to fentanyl, compared to 86 per cent last year. The even more toxic carfentanil has been detected in 48 drug toxicity deaths so far this year, 18 of them in March. In all of 2020, the drug was found in 65 deaths.

Men continued to make up the majority of deaths at 80 per cent and those aged 30 to 59 made up 69 per cent of fatalities.

More to come.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

opioids

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Cariboo Observer. (Black Press Media image)
FOREST INK: A year to remember for lumber prices

Jim Hilton pens a column for the Quesnel Cariboo Observer every week

Council will discuss the Johnston Bridge repairs at their May 11 council meeting. The bridge’s lifespan could be extended by up to 20 years, at a cost of between $2 - $2.5 million. (Quesnel Observer File Photo)
Quesnel council to debate Johnston Bridge repairs May 11

City staff gave four options for repair, recommends comprehensive fix

A map shows the number of cases in each local health area across the province. (BCCDC)
COVID-19 cases on the rise in Quesnel, another elementary school case detected

Voyageur Elementary School reported an exposure between April 22 - 26

Williams Lake Fire Chief Erick Peterson said his department along with other fire departments in the region will be doing some wildfire urban interface training on Sunday, May 9 in the Williams Lake area. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Wildfire urban interface training slated for Williams Lake area Sunday, May 9

Williams Lake, Quesnel, Miocene and 150 Mile House fire departments participating

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read