News / Vancouver

Fentanyl found in 81% of overdose deaths in B.C. so far in 2017

The overdose crisis has killed 876 people from January to July 2017

No overdose deaths have occured at North America's first supervised injection site, Insite, located in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C., which opened in 2013.

Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press

No overdose deaths have occured at North America's first supervised injection site, Insite, located in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C., which opened in 2013.

Fentanyl was detected in four of every five illicit-drug overdose deaths in B.C. so far in 2017, said the BC Coroners Service in a release Thursday.

It's a 143 per cent increase compared to the same time period (January to July) in 2016.

The government also released July overdose data on Thursday, which showed there were 91 suspected drug overdose deaths that month.

The total overdose death count for 2017 so far is now 876, up from 482 at this time last year.

Fentanyl was combined with other illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine in most of the cases.

"In the majority of the deaths we're investigating, we're seeing fentanyl detected with other drugs. This presents huge challenges for those using ilicit drugs and the risk is high," said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe in a statement.

Nine out of every 10 deaths occured indoors, she explained, making it difficult for people using alone to get help.

"We continue to share our latest data and the message of risk with the hope that it wil reach drug-users and their family and friends, ultimately helping to reudce harm and risk and curb the trend with this complex health condition."

No deaths occured at any supervised consumption site or at any drug overdose prevention sites.

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