Toxic drug death toll in B.C. for January dips to 198

Click to play video: 'B.C. breaks record for overdose deaths in 2023'
B.C. breaks record for overdose deaths in 2023
More grim figures from the BC Coroner's Service on the number of illicit drug deaths. New figures show a record number of British Columbians were killed by toxic, illicit drugs in 2023. Global News Morning speaks with Recovery and Harm Reduction Expert Guy Felicella about where the province is failing in its attempt to get a handle on the toxic drug crisis. – Jan 25, 2024

Toxic drugs killed 198 people in British Columbia in January, adding to an unrelenting toll that has killed more than 14,000 people since a public health emergency was declared eight years ago.

A statement from the BC Coroners Service says 70 per cent of January’s deaths were of people aged 30 to 59, and more than three-quarters of them were male, both in line with previous data.

The number of deaths last month is 14 per cent cent lower than January last year, but still represents 42 people per 100,000 residents, or more than six deaths each day.

Click to play video: 'North America’s first supervised injection site turns 20'
North America’s first supervised injection site turns 20

Illicit drug poisoning is B.C.’s number 1 killer for people aged 10 to 59, surpassing homicides, suicides, accidents and natural disease combined.

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Mental Health and Addictions Minister Jennifer Whiteside says she understands the pain and urgency of the crisis and her government is building a system of care that offers support.

She says the latest budget commits $117 million for mental-health and substance-use services, funding on top of $1 billion over three years announced last year to strengthen and expand services.

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