More than two dozen people have died of overdoses and accidents on Langley streets since 2012. (Langley Advance Times files)

More than two dozen people have died of overdoses and accidents on Langley streets since 2012. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley saw 25 accidental homeless deaths in a decade

People are dying on the streets at a higher rate than ever before

At least 25 homeless people have died in accidents and overdoses over the past decade in Langley, a new report by the B.C. Coroners Service has revealed.

The report tabulated the total number of accidental deaths among the homeless across B.C., with sharp increases in deaths over the last few years.

In 2021, there were 247 accidental deaths among homeless people in B.C., a 75 per cent increase over the previous year.

Between 2012 and 2021, there were 120 deaths per year on average.

Langley has seen deaths ranging from zero in a few years, to eight in 2017. Last year, three people died on the streets in Langley in some form of accidental death.

Roughly 195 of the 247 deaths last year were due to toxic drugs. The illicit street drug supply in B.C. contains fentanyl and other prescription or illicit drugs, in high and unpredictable quantities, leading a huge spike in deaths over the past several years.

However, the findings also underline something LaPointe and other health and safety officials have noted repeatedly – most of those dying of the toxic drug supply are not homeless. Last year, 2,267 people died from the drug supply.

The homeless face additional challenges that make them vulnerable to sudden death.

“We know that many are facing significant health concerns, including physical disabilities, mental-health challenges and substance-use issues,” LaPointe said in a statement. “Additionally, as is also evident in the province’s housed population, the report details the significant risks associated with toxic drugs for those who are unhoused.”

READ MORE: 75% spike: 247 people experiencing homelessness died in 2021 in B.C.

READ ALSO: Lack of safe supply and evidence based care at the core of B.C. drug deaths: report


Have a story tip? Email: matthew.claxton@langleyadvancetimes.com

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