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Record OD Numbers Continue to Climb – More Than 1500 Lives Lost in BC – First Nine Months of 2021 – Abbotsford and Chilliwack Also On Record Pace

Victoria/Fraser Valley – Reporting released by the BC Coroners Service shows that 333 lives were lost to suspected illicit drug toxicity in August and September 2021, raising the total number of British Columbians lost this year to 1,534.

No deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.

As of September there have been 60 OD deaths in Abbotsford and 39 in Chilliwack. Those numbers are well on the way to produce another record year end total.

“Once again, we are reporting record numbers of deaths in our province due to the toxic illicit drug supply,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. “The tremendous loss being felt by families and communities across B.C. as they mourn loved ones lost far too soon, is heartbreaking.”

The 1,534 cumulative deaths in 2021 are the most in the first nine months of a calendar year and represent a 24% increase over the 1,240 deaths recorded between January and September 2020. The provincewide death rate stands at 39.4 per 100,000 residents, nearly double the rate in 2016 when the public health emergency into substance-related harms was first declared.

September is the 12th consecutive month in which there were at least 150 deaths due to toxic illicit drugs, and an average of 170 British Columbians have been lost each month in 2021. Both the 181 reported deaths in August and the 152 deaths reported in September are record numbers for those months.

Consistent with previous reporting, toxicology results indicate that the illicit drug supply in B.C. is both volatile and increasingly toxic. Fentanyl and its analogues have now been detected in 84% of all illicit toxicity deaths in 2021, with carfentanil, a particularly potent analogue, being detected in 137 deaths, more than double the 65 deaths recorded in all of 2020. The vast majority of toxicological results indicate the presence of multiple substances, with the three most frequently detected (in addition to fentanyl) being cocaine, methamphetamine/amphetamine and other opioids.

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