VICTORIA, B.C. – Northeast BC had two illicit drug toxicity deaths in July, according to a BC Coroners Service preliminary report.

There have been 18 total deaths reported in the region in the first seven months of 2021, keeping the death rate in the northeast as one of the highest in the province at 46.9  per 100,000 people.

Northern B.C. has recorded 77 drug toxicity deaths this year.

The corners service reported 184 deaths in July across the province, the second-deadliest month on record in B.C. for drug toxicity. The most deaths recorded in a month in the province was in June 2020, with 186 deaths.

“The deaths of another 184 of our community members in July is a stark reminder of the tragic and unrelenting trajectory of this public health emergency,” says Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner.

“We know that the loss of each of these individuals leaves a devastated circle of family and friends who are grieving the preventable death of a cherished loved one.”

July is the 17th consecutive month that more than 100 drug toxicity deaths have been reported in BC.

In the first seven months of 2021, 1,204 suspected drug toxicity deaths have been recorded. The coroners service says this is the highest number experienced in B.C. from January through July in any calendar year, and 26 per cent more than the previous high of 954 deaths recorded between January and July 2017.

Over 70 per cent of drug toxicity deaths in 2021 were among people between the age of 30 and 59, and 79 per cent male.

Fentanyl has been discovered in 86 per cent of the deaths in 2020 and 2021.