According to a BC Coroners Service report, 165 people died from suspected toxic drugs across the province in March, including one in the East Kootenay.
BC Coroners Service officials said five people died in the East Kootenay and two people passed away in the Kootenay Boundary so far in 2022.
Officials report 548 suspected toxic drug deaths in B.C. up to the end of March, with 93 deaths in the Interior Health region. This equates to approximately 5.3 deaths per day across the province.
Across B.C., the overall death rate is 42 deaths from suspected toxic drugs in 100,000 individuals so far in 2022.
“Toxic illicit drugs are taking lives and inflicting devastating impacts on people from all walks of life,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. “Along with the obvious tragedy of fatal outcomes, survivors of drug-toxicity emergency events often experience serious long-term health challenges. I am hopeful that implementation of the Death Review Panel’s recommendation to significantly and rapidly expand access to safer supply across the province will begin to diminish the terrible harms people in B.C. are currently experiencing.”
According to the report, fentanyl or its analogues have been found in 79 per cent of illicit drug deaths in 2022.
Fentanyl or its analogues were found in 94 per cent of testing samples in March.