Overdose deaths declined since 1990s

published on January 28, 2011

A total of 274 people died of drug overdoses in Vancouver between 2005 and 2009, according to preliminary statistics released to the Courier by the BC Coroners Service.

Though the number of deaths is significant, Thomas Kerr, a research scientist for the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, said the death toll should be put into context. Kerr said the number of drug overdose deaths in Vancouver has declined significantly since the 1990s.

“But it’s still too high because overdose deaths are preventable,” he said.

In 2009, 62 people died of a drug overdose in Vancouver compared to 140 in 1997, 191 in 1998 and 108 in 1990. Statistics show a steady decline of deaths in the past decade, with an average of 55 each year between 2005 and 2009. The coroners service has yet to release statistics for 2010.

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