The number of illicit overdose deaths was down in January in British Columbia, but the toll of 116 people is still the third-highest on record behind only the previous two months.
The BC Coroners Service says most of those deaths involved people between the ages of 30 and 49 years old, and four out of five of them were male.
Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says many of those who have died are drug-dependent and didn’t succeed in getting off drugs through a variety of treatment programs.
Lapointe says it may be wise to carefully consider a suggestion by the province’s medical health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, of the possibility of providing medical-grade heroin to the group of users where nothing else has worked.
There were 914 overdose deaths in the province last year, most of them linked to powerful, illicit opioids.
The government has scrambled to slow the toll by increasing access to the overdose-reversing drug naloxone and creating overdose prevention centres, where those using drugs can be supervised.