Pubdate: Wed, 07 Jun 2017
Source: Delta Optimist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Author: Ian Jacques


The number of illicit drug deaths in B.C. continues to be a major
cause of concern, with April showing the second-highest recorded
numbers in a single month in the province, according to the latest
statistics from the BC Coroners Service.

Provisional data show that 136 people died as a result of illicit drug
use during April, an average of 4.5 each day, and almost double the
April 2016 total of 69.

The April deaths bring the provisional numbers for the year-to-date to
488, and they show that more than half of all illicit drug deaths
involved persons between the ages of 30 and 49 years. Four out of five
who died were male.

Of note, nine in 10 illicit drug overdose deaths occurred indoors,
including more than half in private residences (54.1 per cent). No
deaths occurred at any supervised consumption site (InSite or the Dr.
Peter Centre) or at any of the drug overdose prevention sites.

"It is of great concern that despite the harm-reduction measures now
in place and the public-safety messages issued, many people are still
using illicit drugs in private residences where help is not readily
available," said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. "I strongly urge those
using illicit drugs to do so only at a safe consumption site or drug
overdose prevention site, if one is accessible. If one of these sites
is not accessible, please use only a small amount of the drug
initially and only in the presence of someone willing and able to
administer naloxone and call 911 if required. The risks associated
with all illicit drugs in the province are extreme, and access to
emergency medical assistance is essential to prevent fatal

So far in 2017 the Fraser Health Authority has reported 145 deaths
(29.7 per cent of all illicit drug overdose deaths. The Vancouver
Coastal Health Authority has the highest number (171) of illicit
drug-overdose deaths, making up 35 per cent of all illicit
drug-overdose deaths.

Anyone using any illicit drugs or accompanying anyone who is using
needs to follow harm-reduction measures. These include never using
alone, having medical expertise and/or naloxone and a sober person
trained in its use readily available when using, and knowing the signs
of an overdose and calling 911 immediately.

Fraser Health Authority has comprehensive information about this
growing drug problem at:
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