(A Naloxone anti-overdose kit is held in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Record number of people died from illicit drugs in B.C. last year, coroner says

North Shore News

January 24, 2024

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s chief coroner says 2,511 people died of suspected illicit drug poisoning last year, the highest annual toll ever recorded.

Close to 14,000 people have died since the province declared a public health emergency in April 2016, Lisa Lapointe told a news conference on Wednesday.

The surging death toll is a direct result of the powerful opioid fentanyl, which continues to be the main driver in drug deaths, she said.

Lapointe said asking doctors to prescribe a safe supply will not address the crisis.

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