There were 90 suspected drug overdose deaths in B.C. in January, a 31 per cent decrease from the number of deaths occurring in January 2018 (130) and a 22 per cent decrease from the number of deaths occurring in December 2018 (116).
The number deaths in January equates to about 2.9 deaths per day.
There were 90 overdose deaths in January, which has B.C. on track to record 1,080 such deaths this year.
In 2018, 1,510 people in B.C. died from overdoses, which was the most deaths ever recorded in a single year. The previous high was in 2017, when the province recorded 1,486 such deaths.
As usual, men far outnumber women in the deaths, with 75 of the 90 deaths in January involving males. The 30-39 age range accounted for 26 of those deaths, followed by the 50-59 age range (23 deaths) and the 40-49 age range (19 deaths).
Of the 90 overdose deaths in January, 11 occurred in the Interior Health region, including two in Kamloops. Last year, there were 48 such deaths in Kamloops, with 38 deaths in 2017, 44 deaths in 2016. Prior to 2016, the number of overdose deaths in Kamloops were seven in 2015, seven in 2014, eight in 2013, five in 2012, two in 2011, 10 in 2010 and seven in 2009.
Fenatnyl still dominant in drug deaths
There were 1,310 illicit drug overdose deaths with fentanyl detected in 2018. This is a seven per cent increase over the number of deaths occurring in 2017 (1,223). Fentanyl or its analogues were detected in approximately 87 per cent of illicit drug overdose deaths in 2018 and 82 per cent of illicit drug overdose deaths in 2017. Carfentanil was detected in 35 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in 2018 13 overdose deaths in January.
Illicit fentanyl–detected deaths appear to account for the increase in illicit drug overdose deaths since 2012 as the number of illicit drug overdose deaths excluding fentanyl-detected has remained relatively stable since 2011 (average of 285 deaths per year). Fraser Health had the highest number (435) of illicit drug overdose deaths with fentanyl detected in 2018, followed by Vancouver Coastal Health (382) and Vancouver Island Health Authority (215).