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176 in B.C. died of an overdose in April, coroner reports

April marked the 14th straight month that saw more than 100 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Lennihan, File

At least 176 British Columbians died from an overdose in April, up 43 per cent from the same month last year, the BC Coroners Service said Tuesday.

April marked the fourteenth straight month that saw more than 100 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in B.C.

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The total number of suspected illicit drug deaths in B.C. this year now stands at 680.

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Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe reiterated that the province’s drug supply is increasingly toxic, with fentanyl detected in 86 per cent of overdose deaths this year. Carfentanil, a more potent analogue of fentanyl, has been found in 62 samples so far this year, almost as many as were detected all of last year.

Read more: Nearly 500 in B.C. died of an overdose in first three months of 2021, coroner reports

Lapointe also noted a continued increase in the presence of benzodiazepines, which were detected in 57 per cent of samples in April, almost four times the amount reported in July of last year.

Read more: ‘The same sadness and more lives lost’: Frontline workers reflect on 5 years of B.C.’s overdose crisis

Men have accounted for nearly 80 per cent of overdose deaths this year, the province said, adding that the proportion of deaths of those aged 50 and older has risen steadily over the past six years.

The numbers come on the heels of a record-high 1,716 overdose deaths in 2020.

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