Victoria/Fraser Valley – The BC Coroners Service released their report that summarizes all unintentional illicit drug toxicity deaths in British Columbia (accidental and undetermined) that occurred between January 1, 2009, and August 31, 2019, inclusive.
The illicit drug toxicity category includes:
•Street drugs (Controlled and illegal drugs: heroin, cocaine, MDMA, methamphetamine, illicit fentanyl etc.) .
•Medications not prescribed to the decedent but obtained/purchased on the street, from unknown means or where origin of drug not known.
•Combinations of the above with prescribed medications.
There were 79 suspected drug toxicity deaths in August 2019. This is a 37% decrease over the number of deaths occurring in August 2018 (125) and a 13% increase over the number of deaths occurring in July 2019 (70).
•The number of illicit drug toxicity deaths in August 2019 equates to about 2.5 deaths per day for the month.
•In 2019, 71% of those dying were aged 30 to 59; individuals aged 19-59 have accounted for 89% of illicit drug toxicity deaths. Males accounted for 77% of all suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths over the same period.
•The townships experiencing the highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths in 2019 are Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria and Abbotsford.
•Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority have had the highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths (238 and 208 deaths, respectively) in 2019, making up 65% of all such deaths during this period.
•Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has the highest rateof illicit drug toxicity deaths (26 deaths per 100,000 individuals) followed by Northern Health Authority (24 deaths per 100,000 individuals) in 2019. Overall, the rate in BC was 21 deaths per 100,000 individuals in 2019.
•Rates of illicit drug toxicity deaths are highest in Vancouver, Fraser East, Northern Interior, North Vancouver Island, and Northeast Health Services Delivery Areas in 2019.
•By local health area, the rates of illicit drug toxicity deaths are highest in Princeton, Grand Forks, Hope, Vancouver, and Keremeos from 2017 to 2019.