Energeticcity is the voice of the Peace. But we need your help. Give $10 a month today and be the reason we can cover the next story!
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Northeast B.C. reported three drug overdose deaths in April, according to the most recent B.C. Coroners Service report.
Two illicit drug overdose deaths were reported in Northeast B.C. in March — the first deaths of 2023 in the region.
The northeast region reported 24 illicit drug overdoses since April 2022.
Last year, the region recorded the most drug toxicity deaths in April and October, with three deaths each month.
With 32 fatal overdoses recorded, 2020 remains the year with the most deaths in the northeast since 2012.
According to the coroner’s service, no deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites. The report states there is no indication that prescribed safe supply contributed to illicit drug deaths.
The Northern Health region reported 16 overdose deaths in April.
The highest number of fatal overdoses reported in the north since 2012 was 183 deaths in 2022.
“This crisis continues to take its toll in every part of our province, and I am grateful for the dedicated work of front-line workers and peers who save lives every day and answer the call when people in our province need them,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“Drug use is often the symptom of many underlying causes, including trauma. That’s why our government is expanding supports for youth in our province so that we can stop little problems from becoming bigger problems later in their lives. We want our young people to get the best possible start in life.”
In April 2023, the province reported 206 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths, a 17 per cent increase from the number of deaths in April 2022.
December 2021 (229) was the only month in the past with more overdose deaths across the province than January 2022 (216).
By Health Authority, in 2023, the highest rates were in Northern Health (62 deaths per 100,000 people), followed by Vancouver Coastal Health (60 per 100,000).
The Vancouver Coastal Authority has had the most overdose deaths so far in 2023, reporting 257.
Compared to other causes of unnatural deaths, illicit drug overdoses have continued to be the highest in the province since about 2015, with suicide being the highest before that. The number of illicit drug overdoses dropped slightly in 2019 but went back on the rise in 2020.
The number of overdoses from illicit drugs in March 2023 equals about 6.9 deaths per day across the province.
Vancouver, Surrey, and Greater Victoria have had the highest number of illicit drug overdoses by township in 2023, while the rate in B.C. is 45 deaths per 100,000.
The majority of illicit drug overdoses occurred inside, most in private residences (83 per cent). The remainder occurred outside areas, including vehicles, sidewalks, parks, and other venues.
At 26 per cent, the age group with the highest overdoses is 50 to 59.
Males accounted for 77 per cent of the overdose deaths.
The ongoing opioid crisis continues to spiral out of control after being declared a public health emergency in B.C. in 2016.
Thanks for Reading!
Energeticcity.ca is the voice of the Peace, bringing issues that matter to the forefront with independent journalism. Our job is to share the unique values of the Peace region with the rest of B.C. and make sure those in power hear us. From your kids’ lemonade stand to natural resource projects, we cover it–but we need your support.
Give $10 a month to Energeticcity.ca today and be the reason we can cover the next story.