The BC Coroners Service says fentanyl has detected in 81 per cent of illicit drug deaths in BC over the first seven months of this year.
That`s four out of every five deaths linked to illicit drugs.
Figures out today show 876 such deaths from January to July and the incidence of fentanyl is up 143 per cent from the same period last year.
In most cases, fentanyl was combined with other illicit drugs, most often cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
Preliminary data show that there were 91 suspected drug overdose deaths in July, almost three per day, and a 30% increase from July 2016.
However, that is down from 114 deaths in June.
In Vernon, three deaths in July are linked to illicit drug use, bringing the total for the year to 16.
Interior Health recorded a total of 22 overdose deaths in July for a total of 146 this year.
It’s the only health authority in BC to have recorded more deaths in July than in June.
Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says “In the majority of the deaths we’re investigating, we’re seeing fentanyl detected with other drugs. This presents huge challenges for those using illicit drugs and the risk is high.”
“Although it’s heartening to see a decline in deaths month-to-month since March, we continue to see far too many deaths in our communities. As in previous months, most deaths occur indoors, in many cases when people are using alone and without the ability to get help.`
* Current key trends in 2017 suspected illicit drug-overdose death cases:
* Almost three out of every four deaths involved persons between the ages of 30 and 59;
* Four out of five who died were male;
* Nine out of every 10 deaths occurred indoors, including more than half in private residences; and
* No deaths occurred at any supervised consumption site or at any of the drug overdose prevention sites.