Numbers from the BC Coroners Service show that 155 people have died from suspected illicit drug toxicity in February, the most ever recorded for the month.
According to the report, two people died from an overdose in East Kootenay throughout the month.
In the Interior Health region, 23 people died from drug toxicity in February.
“The number of deaths due to toxic illicit drugs in February highlights the ongoing critical risk to public health and safety from the illicit drug market,” said Lisa Lapointe, B.C.’s chief coroner. “I extend my sincere sympathy to everyone who has lost a beloved family member or friend to substance use. The continued tragic and unprecedented rate of death in B.C. highlights the urgent need for a multi-faceted, evidence-based and accessible system of care for those experiencing problematic substance use.”
The number of deaths throughout the province equates to about 5.5 lives lost per day due to the toxic drug supply, the second consecutive month it has been above five.
The Province noted that February also marks the 11th consecutive month with more than 100 deaths attributed to suspected illicit drug toxicity.
18 deaths were linked with Carfentanil, a more lethal analogue of fentanyl, which marks an increase from the 14 deaths in January, and the is the most since April of 2019.
“This data emphasizes the alarming increase in the toxicity of the illicit drug supply throughout B.C.,” Lapointe said. “Across the province, the risk of serious harm or death is very real for anyone using a substance purchased from the illicit market. Decisive action is urgently needed to ensure an accessible, regulated safe supply and to provide people with the supervised consumption, treatment and recovery services they need.”