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VICTORIA — The British Columbia coroners service says more people died from suspected illicit toxic drugs in 2021 than were recorded in any other year.

A report from the service says 2,224 suspected deaths were recorded in B.C. last year, a 26 per cent increase over the previous year.

There were 215 deaths in December, five more than in November.

The coroners service says the average number of deaths per day in 2021 was 6.1, but the statement says the number climbed to about seven each day in the last two months of the year.

Its report says 83 per cent of fatalities happened in private homes or other indoor locations and none were reported at overdose prevention sites.

It says prescribed safe supplies of drugs did not appear to contribute to the death toll.

A statement from the Ministry of Health says ways must be found to reduce the fear and shame that causes people not to seek help, hide their drug use or use alone and cannot get help if they overdose.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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