Illicit-drug fatalities on the decline in B.C., but overdoses in general are not

published on December 5, 2019 by Andrea Woo in Globe and Mail

British Columbia’s annual death toll from overdoses is poised to decline for the first time since the province’s public-health emergency began – but non-fatal overdoses show no signs of abating and health officials say the crisis is far from over.

At least 69 people died from illicit-drug overdoses in October, bringing this year’s death toll to date to 823, according to the BC Coroners Service. The monthly figure is a 42-per-cent decrease from the same period last year, and puts the province on pace to lose about 1,000 people by year’s end, compared with 1,542 last year.

But while overdose deaths are trending downward, overdoses in general are not. BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) has responded to 22,489 suspected overdose or poisoning calls so far this year – a figure that has remained consistent for years (22,662 in 2018; 22,441 in 2017)…

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