120 people died in BC in March due to illicit drug overdoses

The latest grim numbers are out from the BC Coroner's Service showing 120 people died in March due to illicit drug overdoses.  That's an average of 4 a day, the third-highest number ever for a single month.

 In contrast, there were 79 illicit drug-related deaths in March last year.

Individuals aged 30-39 and 40-49 continue to account for the largest percentage of the overdose deaths during the first three months of 2017.

And men accounted for 82.7% of the suspected illicit drug overdose deaths.

The vast majority of deaths occurred inside, with almost 55% of all overdoses occurring in private residences.  There were no deaths at supervised consumption sites or drug overdose prevention sites.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe notes fentanyl appears to account for the significant increase in overdose deaths since 2012.

Lapointe says it's been just over a year since the provincial health officer's declaration of a provincial health emergency and, while harm reduction measures now in place are reversing thousands of overdoses, long-term measures to stem this tide must include meaningful education beginning at an early age and evidence-based treatment.

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