VICTORIA: More people died from illicit drug overdoses in British Columbia in the first eight months of this year than all of 2016.
The coroner’s service says the 1,013 people who died from overdoses from January to the end of August surpasses a record 982 deaths last year.
The latest figures for 2017 show fentanyl was detected either alone or with another drug in more than 80 per cent of the deaths.
The province declared a state of emergency last year and brought in a number of initiatives and harm-reduction measures to try and reduce overdoses.
Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says the increase in deaths highlights the complex issues of drug dependency and the need for people to know that no illicit substance can be considered safe.
The statistics show 91 per cent of those who died this year were aged 19 to 59 and 80 per cent of those were men.
The coroner’s service says there were no deaths at supervised consumption or drug-overdose prevention sites.