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179 (Possibly More) Lives Lost to Toxic Drugs in B.C. in October 2022

Fraser Valley/Victoria – This past month, Christmas bonuses were part of the support payments to those on social assistance. The “Welfare Wednesday” in November 2022 also came a fear within the recovery community that with money in hand, those in the throes of addiction would be at increased danger.

The wail of sirens throughout the Valley was a testimony to that.

The October 2022 Overdose numbers are a sad reflection.

Abbotsford remains on track to post another record number of toxic drug overdose deaths.

Chilliwack is on pace to have another bad year, but hopefully, not another record.

Illicit drug overdose death report (data to Oct. 31, 2022):
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/birth-adoption-death-marriage-and-divorce/deaths/coroners-service/statistical/illicit-drug.pdf

Illicit drug toxicity: Type of drug data report (data to Aug. 31, 2022):
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/birth-adoption-death-marriage-and-divorce/deaths/coroners-service/statistical/illicit-drug-type.pdf

Preliminary reporting from the BC Coroners Service shows that illicit drugs have caused the deaths of at least 1,827 British Columbians in the first 10 months of 2022. 

Consistent with previous reporting, the data reflects the continued dangers that toxic drugs pose to substance users throughout the province. The 179 British Columbians lost to illicit drug toxicity in October 2022 equates to an average of approximately 5.8 deaths per day.

The reporting also further illustrates that the toxic drug crisis is impacting communities of all sizes. Although 453 deaths this year have occurred in Vancouver, these deaths account for only 25% of lives lost in 2022. Prince George and Nanaimo have already recorded more illicit drug-related deaths in 2022 than in any previous year, and both the Island and Northern health authorities are currently trending toward record losses of life for the year.

In 2022, 70% of those dying were between the ages 30 and 59, and 78% were male. The townships reporting the highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths in 2022 are Vancouver, Surrey, and Greater Victoria. By health authority in 2022, the highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths were in Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health authorities (547 and 511 deaths, respectively), making up 58% of all such deaths during 2022.

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Lorne Oss

radiodon11@gmail.com fvn@shaw.ca 604 392 5834

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