Overdoses claim another 63 B.C. lives in October

More than a third of the 622 drug deaths so far this year have happened in Fraser region

First responders work on a drug overdose victim in Surrey earlier this year.

Illicit drug overdoses claimed another 63 lives across B.C. in October, the highest monthly death toll since April.

The total deaths reported by the B.C. Coroners Service now stands at 622 for the year up to the end of October, up markedly from the 397 deaths in the same 10 months of 2015.

The powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl continues to be linked to approximately 60 per cent of fatalities this year – 332 cases in all or three times as many as the same period last year.

More than a third of the total overdose deaths this year – 211 – have happened in the Fraser Health region, compared to 147 in Vancouver Coastal, 120 on Vancouver Island and 108 in the Interior.

The top cities where deaths have occurred so far this year are Vancouver (124), Surrey (76), Victoria (51), Kelowna (37), Kamloops (31), Abbotsford (28) and Maple Ridge (24).

A multi-prong response strategy has been underway since the province declared a public health emergency in April and created a dedicated task force in July.

Efforts include making naloxone much more widely available to reverse overdoses in progress.

The strategy also aims to block fentanyl production and distribution, increase harm-reduction options, foster greater public education and increase the number of addiction recovery beds.

Officials from B.C. will attend a federal opioid conference in Ottawa starting Friday to explore strategies to counter overdose deaths. That comes a day after Premier Christy Clark leads a delegation to Ottawa to meet federal officials on other potential government actions.

Vancouver Coastal Health has applied for federal approval of two new supervised drug consumption sites, with three more in the works, while Island Health is seeking public feedback ahead of an application for sites in Victoria.

Just Posted

Firefighters come to the rescue of Langley stroke survivors

Hope After Stroke receives major infusion after Cruise-In donation falls short of expectation.

Cloverdale banker shares his love of swing dancing

Cloverdale’s Phillip Kunz shows dancing newcomers how to get into the swing of things

Woman charged in Abbotsford mall stabbing served time for 2001 killing

Victim in Edmonton killing was stabbed eight times with kitchen knife

Trial date scheduled for man charged with killing Abbotsford officer

Oscar Arfmann slated to go to trial in New Westminster in January 2019

All welcome to go on Whoo’s Hoot Owl Prowl in South Langley

Evening event focuses on owls at Campbell Valley Regional Park

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Council tells TransLink commission to make sure road pricing is fair

Maple Ridge tells road pricing commission to make sure system is fair

Most Read