Fraser Valley/Victoria – At least 1,095 British Columbians are believed to have been lost to the toxic drug supply between January and June 2022, according to preliminary data released by the BC Coroners Service.
The highest ever recorded in the first six months of a calendar year.
The number of lives lost to toxic drugs in B.C. between January and June is the highest ever recorded in the first six months of a calendar year. More than three quarters (78%) of the lives lost in 2022 were male and nearly the same percentage (73%) were between the ages of 30-59. On average, more than six lives have been lost to illicit drugs every day this year.
The majority of illicit drug toxicity deaths have been recorded in either the Fraser or Vancouver Coastal Health Authorities (352 and 297 deaths respectively), making up 59% of all such deaths in the first six months of 2022. However, rates of death remain high throughout the province, with Northern Health reporting a rate of death of 53 per 100,000 residents, and four of five health authorities reporting rates above the provincial average (42 deaths per 100,000 residents).
Illicit drug toxicity is the leading cause of unnatural death in British Columbia and is second only to cancers in terms of years of life lost.