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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The BC Coroners Service has released the illicit drug overdose deaths for June this year and northeast B.C. has seen seven so far in the year.

Across the province, there were 111 suspected drug overdose deaths in June 2017, an average of 3.7 each day and a 61% increase from June 2016.

Northeast B.C. had a total of 17 illicit drug deaths in 2016. To date in 2017, there has been a total of 7. Northern B.C. as a whole has seen a total of 28 deaths compared to 51 in 2016.

There has been a total of 710 deaths in 2017 throughout B.C. compared to 414 at the same time in 2016.

“While it’s a relief to see the lowest number of deaths for any month to date in 2017, we are still seeing a significant increase in illicit drug overdose deaths compared even with this time last year and are continuing to lose loved and valued members of our communities at a tragic rate,” said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. “The drug supply is unsafe and anyone using illicit drugs is at high risk for overdose. I urge anyone using drugs, whether casually or regularly, not to use alone. Many deaths our coroners attend are in response to people who overdose with no one available to provide or summon critical and immediate medical assistance.”

Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority have the highest number of illicit drug deaths for the year to date at 258 and 249 respectively.

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