VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Coroners Service is reporting that there were 175 illicit drug toxicity deaths reported in July.

According to the Coroners Service, this is the third consecutive month with more than 170 suspected illicit drug deaths reported.

So far this year, a total of 909 illicit drug deaths were reported across B.C., lower than compared to 984 in 2019.

The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, says the latest numbers show that the overdose crisis has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What the latest numbers show us is that the overdose crisis has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented tragedy of death and loss to families in our province continues.”

When looking at drug deaths within the Northeast, 19 have been reported so far, with 12 of those reported in Fort St. John.

Northern Health and Vancouver Coastal Health remain the highest in death rates with 35 per 100,000.

This time last year, there were 17 reported deaths in the Northeast and eight of those in Fort St. John.