Overdose numbers spike in March of this year

A graph from the B.C. Coroners Service shows a dramatic spike in overdose deaths

Three of last month's deaths occurred in Northeast B.C., while eight occurred in the Northern Interior, and the Northwest region recorded its first fatal overdose of the year.

During the first three months of the year, Kamloops recorded 12 illicit-drug overdose deaths, which has the city on pace to register the most such deaths in a calendar year.

Vancouver has seen 102 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths so far this year, an average of 34 per month - that number of up from 2017, which had an average of 30.5 deaths per month.

The figures for March are 58 per cent higher than February's total of 102 suspected deaths from illicit drugs and 24 per cent higher than the same month previous year.

Carfentanil, which is even more potent than fentanyl, was detected in 81 overdose deaths between June last year and the end of March of this year.

People aged 19 to 39 makeup the largest demographic of British Columbians dying from overdose deaths - or 188 people.

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The new report also shows that Vancouver Island Health Authority is tied with Vancouver's health authority for the highest rate of illicit drug overdose deaths, with 37 deaths per 100,000 people.

The majority of deaths continue to be young- to middle-aged males who die in their homes or another residence, such as a hotel, motel, rooming house or shelter.

Of the 161 people across the province who died from an overdose, 129 had fentanyl detected in their systems, which works out to just over 80 percent.

In February, 102 people were suspected to have died from the same cause'.

The coroner's service replicated its deadline for those taking illegal drugs to not use independently.

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