Increase in overdose deaths provincewide

A graph from the B.C. Coroners Service shows a dramatic spike in overdose deaths

Preliminary data revealed for the first three months of 2018, fentanyl was detected in more than eight in every 10 deaths.

During the first quarter of 2018, there have been 391 suspected overdose deaths in the province, on par with the 400 reported through the first three months of past year, the B.C. Coroners Service says.

It's a 58 per cent increase over the number of drug overdoses deaths in B.C. the month prior.

That's nearly as high as the 162 people who died in December 2016, the highest monthly total since the coroners service began collecting statistics.

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Vancouver has seen 102 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths so far this year, an average of 34 per month - that number of up from 2017, which had an average of 30.5 deaths per month.

Through the first three months of 2018, there have been 391 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C., on par with the 400 reported through the first three months of 2017.

People aged 19 to 39 makeup the largest demographic of British Columbians dying from overdose deaths - or 188 people.

For 2018, there were 391 deaths in B.C. between January 1 and March 31.

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The vast majority of people - more than 90 per cent - have overdosed indoors.

Despite efforts by government and health officials to increase harm reduction methods - such as free opioid-reversing nalaxone kits, safe consumption sites and fentanyl test strips - concerning trends have continued to plague all corners of the province. The week spanning April 23 to 29 saw 207 reported overdose calls, a 74 per cent increase with April 28 seeing the highest number of calls in one day since the beginning of a year ago.

In February, 102 people were suspected to have died from the same cause'. Those using substances should have someone nearby equipped and trained to administer naloxone or able to call 911 immediately if an overdose occurs.

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