Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. (Facebook)

Vancouver records ‘ghastly’ death count from suspected overdoses: mayor

So far in 2018, 206 people have died in Vancouver from suspected overdoses

The suspected overdose deaths of 11 people last week in Vancouver has set what the mayor calls a “ghastly” death-count record for 2018.

The city says the week of July 23 was the worst on record this year for suspected overdose deaths based on statistics from the police department.

So far in 2018, 206 people have died in Vancouver from suspected overdoses.

The latest overdose statistics for the province show there was a dip in the number of suspected illicit drug deaths in June compared with the same month a year earlier.

There were 105 illicit drug overdose deaths across B.C. in June, a drop from 123 in the same month last year.

Mayor Gregor Robertson called last week’s death count for the city “simply ghastly” in a news release.

“We don’t see signs that we’ve turned a corner on this public health disaster in Vancouver,” he said. “A poisoned supply of street drugs continues to kill our loved ones and devastate families across our city. Lives are on the line — people need access to safe prescription drugs rather than being forced to turn to the deadly drugs from organized crime on our streets.”

The number of deaths due to overdoses last week must still be confirmed by the BC Coroners Service.

The fire department says it responded to 147 overdose calls last week, a 47 per cent increase from the previous week, and 24 per cent higher than the weekly average for 2017.

The city says frontline workers suspect the increase in overdoses and related deaths are due to high toxicity in street drugs.

In Vancouver last year, 366 people died from suspected overdoses.

Across B.C., fentanyl has been detected in 81 per cent of the drug overdose deaths in the first six months of 2018, the coroner’s service said this week. The powerful painkiller appears to account for the spike in illicit drug overdose deaths since 2012, as the number of deaths excluding fentanyl has remained relatively stable since 2011, it said.

Illicit drug overdose deaths climbed to more than 1,400 in 2017 from about 300 in 2012, surpassing suicide and car accidents to become the leading cause of unnatural deaths in British Columbia.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Bevy of remarkable birthdays celebrated in Aldergrove

Maudie MacPherson (age 101), Vera Banner (91) and Alice Utas (95)

Pond hockey banned in public parks under updated Township bylaw

Public spaces bylaw imposes new restrictions on smoking, possession of drug paraphernalia, geocaching and more

Election 2018: Kim Richter withdraws from mayor’s race, runs for council instead

In a Facebook post, Richter announced she will seek another term on Township council

Langley trampoline gymnast off to Peru for world qualifiers

The gymnastics club is holding an open house this Saturday, Aug. 18, with free drop-in sessions.

VIDEO: Langley RCMP officer and brother lead Amazing Race Canada Heroes Edition

Courtney and Taylor Callens have become the team to beat

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Mt. Hicks fire 15% contained, continues to burn north of Agassiz

The fire, suspected to be caused by a vehicle with a flat tire, not threatening any structures

Police responding to ‘unfolding’ incident in Maple Ridge suburb

Helicopter, dog team, guns drawn and 16 police vehicles at Maple Ridge property

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Most Read