Overdose deaths down in first quarter of 2019

New numbers from the BC Coroners Service show a decline in overdose deaths within the province.

In the first quarter of 2019, the average monthly number of overdose deaths dropped 32 percent compared to the same period last year. That translates to an average of 89 deaths per month, down from 132 in the first part of 2018.

According to the BC Coroners Service, the vast majority of victims were middle-aged men. Males accounted for four out of every five fatal overdoses, more than two-thirds were people aged 30 to 59.

Fentanyl was detected in approximately 85 percent of illicit drug deaths in the first three months of 2019. There were 82 such deaths in March alone.

The numbers also appear draw a correlation between fatal overdoses and the location of the victim. Nine out of ten illicit-drug deaths occurred indoors, with more than half of those in private residences. The Coroners Service notes there were zero deaths recorded at safe injection sites.