B.C. has seen its highest number of overdose deaths in a single month, with 170 recorded in May, alone. That rate surpasses B.C.’s number of deaths from COVID-19, which sits at 167.
“It’s frustrating to see the number of illicit drug deaths go up and to reach a new high,” said Andy Watson, a spokesperson for the B.C. Coroners Service to CBC. “It’s sad to see this many people impacted, losing their lives.”
The rate of fatal overdoses has been slowly climbing since February, which had 76 deaths. March saw 113, while April had 118 deaths.
More than 82% of May’s overdose deaths involved fentanyl.
“The rate and the level of fentanyl concentration is the highest that we’ve seen it,” said Watson.
B.C. declared a public health emergency in April 2016, due to the rising number of fatal overdoses. The numbers had begun to fall before the pandemic began.
Since 2016, more than 5,000 people have died in this way.
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