Fentanyl found in 81 per cent of overdose deaths in B.C.

The Canadian Press
September 12, 2017
By The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER – The painkiller fentanyl has been detected in 81 per cent of illicit drug deaths in British Columbia so far this year, an increase of 143 per cent over the same period in last year.

The BC Coroners Service said that in most cases, fentanyl was combined with other drugs including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said drug users are at high risk of overdosing when they use alone and aren't able to get help, which has been the case in most of the fatalities.

The overdose-reversal drug naloxone has been widely distributed in B.C., with many friends and families of drug users trained to use the medication.

The service said 876 people died in B.C. between January and July, up from 483 fatalities during the same months last year.

Lapointe said the service hopes public awareness of the death toll will support open communication about drug use and how best to support people dependent on illicit substances.

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