The BC Coroners Service has published updated reports on illicit drug toxicity deaths and fentanyl-detected drug deaths to the end of May 2019.
The number of illicit drug-related deaths for the first five months of 2019 shows a year-over-year decrease, with 86 and 84 illicit drug-related deaths in April and May 2019 respectively, down from 137 and 116 for the same months for 2018.
Overall, there have been 462 illicit drug toxicity deaths in the first five months of 2019, down 30% from the 2018 total (651) over the same period. The data is subject to change and totals for 2019 will likely increase as post-mortem testing results are received, but it is a sign for cautious optimism.
More than two-thirds of the illicit-drug deaths in the first five months of 2019 involved people aged 30 to 59 years, and males account for almost four in every five of all illicit-drug deaths over the same period.
Fentanyl was the most prevalent drug found in those that died, followed by cocaine and methamphetamine.
Locally, the Interior Health region has reported 70 deaths since the beginning of 2019, compared to 233 in all of 2018. For the population size the deaths come in at 21.9 per 100,000. While the numbers have decreased significantly since last year, they’re still a far cry from 2012 when there was only 31 total deaths in the Interior.
Broken down further, Merritt falls into the Thompson Cariboo health services delivery area. The area has reported 23 deaths so far in 2019 compared to 86 in all of 2018.
Kamloops and Kelowna both find themselves in the top 10 cities for deaths in 2019. Kamloops is at #5 with 18 alone. Kelowna is #7 with 15.
Leading the charts is Vancouver where there has been 127 deaths this year.
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