Fentanyl front lines: Fentanyl-linked deaths triple this year

published on October 21, 2016 by Sarah Petrescu in Times Colonist

The fentanyl crisis continues its grim toll with the latest statistics showing more people in B.C. have died from drug overdoses in the first nine months of this year than in all of 2015.

There have been 555 deaths as a result of illicit-drug overdoses from January through September, eclipsing the 508 drug-related deaths in B.C. in 2015.

The total number of illicit-drug overdoses in September was 56, up from 49 in August, according to the latest statistics released Thursday by the B.C. Coroners Service.

The powerful opioid fentanyl was detected in 302 deaths “” 61 per cent of all drug deaths from January through August this year “”more than triple the number of fentanyl-related deaths compared with the same period last year.

“The ongoing high rates of fatal overdose in British Columbia demonstrate the need for continued collaboration, focus and energy,” Evan Wood, interim director of the newly created B.C. Centre on Substance Use, and Marshall Smith, chairman of the B.C. Recovery Council, said in a statement.

“In the face of the public-health emergency, we enthusiastically support the provincial government’s efforts to date, and encourage all stakeholders to continue to urgently respond to the severity of the current overdose epidemic.”

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