November 9, 2017 2:58 pm
Updated: November 9, 2017 4:15 pm

More than 1,000 people have now died from drug-related deaths in B.C. this year

File photo.


The latest statistics from the BC Coroners Service continue to paint an alarming picture about drug-related deaths in this province.

Overdose deaths continue to be on the rise.

The preliminary data shows there were 80 suspected drug overdose deaths in B.C. in September, which is a 31 per cent increase compared to the same month in 2016.

LISTEN: Simi Sara talks about the alarming overdose statistics

In total, 1,103 people have died from drug use so far this year. This is compared to 607 deaths by this time in 2016.

The B.C. government says fentanyl continues to play a big role, with 83 per cent of suspected drug deaths involving people with fentanyl in their system, which in most cases was combined with other illicit drugs. This represented an increase of 147 per cent over the same period in 2016.

WATCH: Tragic spike in overdoses in Abbotsford

Carfentanil has been detected in 37 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths between June and September of 2017.

The B.C. government report found more suspected illicit drug overdose deaths occurred during the five days following income assistance payments than in all other days of the month so far in 2017, with an average of six deaths per day.

READ MORE: 3 more suspected overdose deaths in Vancouver, bringing total to 280

About three out of four deaths involved people between the ages of 30 and 59 and four out of five deaths were men.

The majority of deaths occurred indoors, about 90 per cent, and more than half in private residences.

Those stats contradict the continuing myth the impact of this crisis is most felt on those who live on the street.

WATCH: Recovering from a fentanyl overdose

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“It really is devastating we still are seeing an average of four people a day dying in British Columbia and this trend is worsening in British Columbia and across the country,” said Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy.

READ MORE: ‘Overdose is closer than you think,’ warns Fraser Health in new B.C. campaign

She said the government has more help coming from the province.

“We are going to be making an announcement tomorrow about escalating our response to the opioid crisis and we are going to be making more announcements in the weeks to come.”

While the details are vague, Darcy said this includes expanding drug checking and ramping up an anti-stigma campaign.

~With files from Liza Yuzda

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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