126 children and youth died of toxic drugs in 5 years: B.C. coroner

published on May 28, 2024 by Akshay Kulkarni in CBC News

The B.C. Coroners Service has found that 126 children and youth younger than 19 died due to toxic drugs between 2019 and 2023.

The numbers, released in a Tuesday report, showed that unregulated drug toxicity was the most common cause of unnatural death among youth during that time period.

More than 70 per cent of deaths occurred in private residences, according to the coroners service, and more than half of the youth who died were using drugs alone.

The stark numbers — eight years into a public health emergency that claims around six lives daily — show the need for more harm reduction, education and mental health support services tailored to youth, according to one researcher.

“We need to do better, we need to address this unacceptable loss of life among these young people who died far too soon,” said Danya Fast, a research scientist with the B.C. Centre on Substance Use who has worked with youth since 2007…

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