BC drug deaths suddenly raised to 162 in March

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During the first quarter of 2018, there have been 391 suspected overdose deaths in the province, on par with the 400 reported through the first three months of a year ago, the B.C. Coroners Service says.

The highest total ever for BC came in December of 2016, when there were 162 overdose deaths recorded.

It's also a 24 per cent increase compared to March of a year ago and a 58 per cent increase over the 102 people who died in February.

Preliminary data indicate that through the first three months of 2018, fentanyl was detected in post-mortem testing in more than eight in every 10 deaths (83%). Seven-in-10 people who died were adults between the ages of 19 and 49.

Most recently, the government introduced legislation cracking down on pill presses-machines that can be used to make illicit drugs. No one has died from an overdose at a supervised consumption site or an overdose prevention site.

"We are escalating our response every single day, every single week, every single month and we will continue to until we turn the tide on this awful crisis", she said.

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Last year, the capital city saw 91 illicit overdose deaths, behind only Surrey and Vancouver.

The coroner says over 1,400 inhabitants died from suspected illegal drug overdoses this past year.

The majority of deaths continue to be young- to middle-aged males who die in their homes or another residence, such as a hotel, motel, rooming house or shelter.

And more than 90 per cent of overdose deaths have occurred inside, with 62 per cent in private residence and 29 per cent inside other locations.

"Those using chemicals should have somebody nearby trained and equipped Happens", it stated in the discharge.

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