The City of Surrey and Statistics Canada are launching a pilot project to study people who overdose at home, often alone.
The latest data from the BC Coroners Service found that six in 10 people who died of an overdose this year did so in their own home.
Factoring in hotel rooms, rooming houses, shelters and other indoor locations, that number climbs to nearly 90 per cent.
Faced with those numbers, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said it’s crucial to better understand the group of drug users who are getting high at home.
“We are saving a lot on the streets these days with our programs we already have in play, but we are losing a lot of lives every single day in their residences,” she said.
“We haven’t got the depth of understanding of who these people are and what are the identifying factors that are putting them most at risk.”
WATCH: Shocking new numbers on drug overdose deaths in B.C.
The new study, which will also collect data from the Coroners Service, first responders and Fraser Health, hopes to better understand why that’s happening, and to come up with effective interventions.
The information the pilot project collects will help to shape drug policy and the development of new programs, said Hepner.
“Are they lonely, are they unwell, are they poor, are they wealthy? Where are all those intersection points where we can say, ‘These are the kinds of things that, had we done this at this point in time, we could have changed the outcome.'”
Between January and October of 2017, more than 1,100 people have died of suspected drug overdoses in B.C., 133 of them in Surrey.