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Opioid crisis: 127 people in B.C. died of illicit drug overdoses in September

Needles are seen on the ground in Oppenheimer park in Vancouver's downtown eastside on March 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

One hundred and twenty-seven people died of illicit drug overdoses in B.C. in September, according to the latest figures from the coroner.

While this number remains high and is a 112-per-cent increase over the same period last year, it’s 15 per cent lower than the month prior, when 150 people were reported to have died from a suspected overdose in the province.

More than 1,000 people in B.C. have died of an overdose so far in 2020. The number of deaths in the first eight months of this year was already higher than the total for all of 2019.

Click to play video: 'One-on-one with Dr. Bonnie Henry on B.C.’s overdose crisis' One-on-one with Dr. Bonnie Henry on B.C.’s overdose crisis
One-on-one with Dr. Bonnie Henry on B.C.’s overdose crisis – Sep 30, 2020

Read more: ‘It’s personal to me’: Dr. Bonnie Henry on why we can’t afford to ignore B.C.’s overdose crisis

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So far in 2020, 70 per cent of people who died from a drug overdose were between the ages of 30 and 59, with men accounting for 80 per cent.

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria remain the cities with the highest number of such deaths.

None have been reported at supervised consumption or overdose prevention sites, the BC Coroners Service said in a news release Tuesday.

Last month, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry signed an order that gave more health professionals the ability to prescribe safer pharmaceutical alternatives.

Click to play video: 'B.C. nurses join the battle against the province’s overdose crisis' B.C. nurses join the battle against the province’s overdose crisis
B.C. nurses join the battle against the province’s overdose crisis – Sep 17, 2020

-With files from Jon Azpiri

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