An average of five people died every day last month from illicit drug toxicity deaths in B.C., according to the B.C. Coroners Service report.
March saw a 41 per cent increase compared to the year before, with 158 deaths — the total for the year stands at 498.
“There are no simple solutions to the toxic drug crisis this province is experiencing,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. “Problematic substance use is widespread throughout our province, and evidence-based strategies, such as supervised consumption and drug checking services, prescription alternatives and accessible and meaningful treatment and recovery options, are essential to reduce the death and suffering.”
The Central Vancouver Island health service delivery area reported seven deaths in March — the total for the year is 19.
Males accounted for 80 per cent of the deaths and over two thirds of overdose deaths were people 30–59, the report said.
Northern Health reported the highest death rate in the province at 57 per 100,000 people, significantly higher than the provincial average of 38. Island Health recorded 33 illicit drug toxicity deaths per 100,000 people.