Illicit drug toxicity now leading cause of death for B.C. residents between 10 and 59: Coroner

Click to play video: 'B.C. adjusts toxic drug strategy'
B.C. adjusts toxic drug strategy
After questions were raised, B.C.'s top doctor will be reviewing the province's prescribed hard drug program. And as Richard Zussman tells us, health officials are recommending expanding the types of drugs available. And, Keith Baldrey has data on who is dying and where the deaths are happening. – Jun 5, 2023

The death toll for illicit drug overdoses in British Columbia has surpassed 1,000 people just five months into the year.

A statement from the BC Coroners Service says the 176 deaths in May pushed the toll to 1,018 people who have overdosed due to unregulated drugs.

The service says illicit drug toxicity is now the leading cause of death in B.C. for people between the ages of 10 to 59, surpassing homicides, suicides, accidents and natural diseases combined.

Click to play video: 'B.C.’s chief coroner addresses ‘questions’ about prescribed safer supply program'
B.C.’s chief coroner addresses ‘questions’ about prescribed safer supply program

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says expedited testing shows the powerful opioid fentanyl was present in almost nine of 10 results, nearly double the rate of methamphetamine and cocaine.

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Lapointe says that as long as people rely on the profit-driven unregulated market to access their drugs, their lives will be at risk.

A public health emergency was declared in April 2016 and since then, the service says at least 12,264 B.C. residents have died from overdoses.

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