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HomeNewsBC records 147 illicit drug deaths in August, including seven in PG

BC records 147 illicit drug deaths in August, including seven in PG

(Graphic supplied by BC Coroners Service)

Northern Health continues to have the highest rate of illicit drug deaths in BC at 40 per 100,000 people.

The northern region has seen 80 deaths so far this year, 18 of which are from last month.

Today (Wednesday), the BC Coroners Service reported 147 deaths in August, which is a 71% increase from the same month last year but a 16% drop from the number of deaths in July of 2020.

There have been 1,068 illicit drug deaths in BC this year, including 29 in Prince George.

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Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe told it will be a while before the situation heads in the opposite direction.

“This is a long-term problematic issue that is going to require a very long term sustained response over time.”

She added much of the progress they made was snuffed out due to COVID-19.

“We’ve already seen in the first eight months more deaths than what there was in all of 2019 due to illicit drug toxicity. The measures that were implemented, working, and effective were hampered by COVID-19 impacts.”

The provincial total from the first eight months of 2020, has already surpassed the total number of illicit drug deaths from last year, which was 983.

This year, 69% of those who died were aged 30 to 59.

Males accounted for 81% of deaths so far.

Between 2018 to 2020, the northern capital has seen 111 drug toxicity deaths, equating to a rate of 41.7 per 100-thousand people.

BC Paramedics responded to over 75-hundred provincial overdose calls throughout the summer, making it the highest number of calls ever recorded in a three-month span.

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