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HomeNewsBC overdose deaths rise 43% in 2017 compared to previous year

BC overdose deaths rise 43% in 2017 compared to previous year

Courtesy BC Coroners Service

Preliminary data from the BC Coroners Service shows 1,422 suspected drug overdose deaths occurred in British Columbia in 2017.

This number is 43% higher than the year prior.

The Northern Health Authority saw a slight increase from 2016 to 2017, from 51 to 56. In terms of the rate of death per 100,000, however, the rate in Northern BC climbed slightly to 19.5 which is more than seven less than the next closest health authority.

“While we haven’t seen the number in the north because there is significantly less population in the north, we are seeing death occur in the north,” explains Chief Coroner Lisa LaPointe.

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“It is an issue but there are fewer people there so there will be fewer deaths.”

Courtesy BC Coroners Service

Last year would be considered an outlier to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall.

“2017 is the only year in which the rate of death per 100,000 is actually lower than the other health authorities,” he says.

“In previous years they were all roughly in the same ballpark so 2017 is an anomaly.”

In the Northern Health Authority, preliminary numbers show 46 deaths happened due to illicit drug overdoses.

The Northern Interior sector of Northern Health, which includes Prince George, accounted for most of the deaths with 28.

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