Victoria – Preliminary data released by the BC Coroners Service confirms that more than 1,600 British Columbians were lost to toxic, unregulated drugs in the first eight months of 2023.
Abbotsford and Chilliwack continue on pace for record number of deaths in one year.
The 174 deaths reported to the BC Coroners Service in August represent the lowest total recorded in a single month since June 2022, and equate to about 5.6 lives lost per day. Caution should be exercised when drawing conclusions regarding trends from a single month of data, particularly given that recent data is preliminary and subject to change as investigations are completed and causes of death are confirmed.
Aggregated data further reveals that smoking remains the dominant mode of consumption, with almost two-thirds of death investigations in 2023 involving decedents who consumed substances in this manner. This continues a pattern first observed in 2017 and further underscores the need for spaces for people who use drugs to smoke them safely. About eight in every 10 deaths in 2023 has occurred inside, another trend that has remained consistent for several years.