VANCOUVER – A look at how up to date the provinces have kept the statistics around opioid overdose deaths, including those linked to fentanyl:
In the first 10 months of 2016, there were 622 unintentional overdose deaths from illicit drugs in British Columbia. Of those deaths that occurred before October, 332 were linked to fentanyl.
Watch below: Premier Christy Clark, B.C.’s Health Minister and ordinary British Columbians who’ve been touched by the overdose epidemic traveled to Ottawa Thursday to demand action from the federal government.
From the beginning of 2016 to Oct. 27, 338 Albertans died from an apparent drug overdose related to an opioid. Fentanyl was involved in 193 of them.
Saskatchewan reported a total of 18 opioid overdoses in the first nine months of 2016, including two accidental deaths involving fentanyl. However, those numbers exclude deaths that are still under investigation. 2015 saw far greater numbers, with 21 fentanyl-related deaths out of 86 opioid fatalities.
A government spokeswoman said Manitoba’s health department has no mechanism in place to track overdoses. She said the province’s medical examiner’s office reports there are about 150 overdoses a year and that some of those deaths are caused by opioids, including fentanyl. The medical examiner’s office did not reply to a request for more information.
Ontario released its preliminary overdose numbers for 2015 a few weeks ago, but a department spokeswoman said the tally won’t be finalized until sometime in 2017. Last year saw 529 opioid deaths across the province and 162 of those were related to fentanyl.
Quebec did not reply to repeated requests for data.
New Brunswick reported seven instances in 2015 where opioids were the direct cause of death, as well as 10 cases where opioids were detected alongside other substances. The province didn’t break out the number of deaths where fentanyl was discovered. The 2016 figures were not readily available.
The most recent data available for Prince Edward Island are for 2014, when there were four opioid-related deaths.
Watch Below: Opioid overdoses are now considered to be the biggest public health crisis in Canada. In Nova Scotia, 49 Nova Scotians have died so far this year. Global’s Natasha Pace reports.
Opioid statistics aren’t readily available in Nova Scotia, though the province’s chief medical officer reported late last month that at least 70 people died of opioid-related overdoses in the first eight months of 2016.
There were 20 drug-related accidental deaths in 2015. Eighteen of those tested positive for opioids, five of which contained fentanyl.