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HomeNewsIllicit Drug Deaths Down in B.C. but Coroners Service Still Advise Caution

Illicit Drug Deaths Down in B.C. but Coroners Service Still Advise Caution

Despite drug toxicity death rates decreasing in 2019, the B.C. Coroners Service is still urging caution due to an unpredictable toxic, illicit drug supply in the province.

None have died in the East Kootenay, however, according to the Coroners Service, while over 800 people have died across the province due to drug toxicity.

“While Coroners Service data shows that the number of fatalities related to illicit drug toxicity has decreased this year, we know from our partners in health care that the number of non-fatal drug toxicity events remains high,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. “The drug supply in our province is unpredictable and perilous, and the long-term impacts of drug toxicity can be severe.”

B.C. Coroners Service reported 69 deaths due to suspected drug toxicity in October 2019, which represents a 42% drop from 118 in October 2018. A further 58% drop saw numbers down to 57 in September 2019 from 135 in September 2018.

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The B.C. Government is still advising caution, however, as the danger still persists. It said that Emergency Services responded to over 20,000 overdose calls around the province from January to October averaging to about 64 a day.

According to B.C. Emergency Health Services, when paramedics respond to a potential overdose, the patient has a 99% chance of survival. Even if someone survives an overdose, the B.C. Government said long term health impacts can come from a brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.

The B.C. Coroners Service reminds the public to call 911 in the case of a potential drug overdose.

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