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Toxic drugs continue to claim lives, including North

B.C.'s chief coroner calls for safer supply across the province
BC Coroners Service

More alarming figures from the province's coroners service.

It's reporting close to 1100 British Columbians died in the first six months of this year due to the toxic drug supply, according to a statement released Tuesday by chief coroner Lisa Lapointe.

And, as stated before, the problem is not confined to larger centres, like Vancouver and Victoria.

While the largest number of deaths took place on the Lower Mainland, per capita, the Northern Health region is well above the provincial average of 42 deaths per 100,000 residents at 53.

“The ever-increasing toxicity of the unregulated, illicit drug market is taking a heart-breaking toll on the lives and well-being of members of our communities across the province,” said Lapointe.

The number of lives lost to toxic drugs in B.C. between January and June is the highest ever recorded in the first six months of a calendar year, said the chief coroner.

The northern interior is ranked third, among regions, in deaths so far in 2022 behind Vancouver and the Thompson-Cariboo.

The new figures also reiterated the crisis is not limited to the streets.

In fact, the chief coroner's statement showed 84% of illicit drug toxicity deaths occurred inside – 56% in private residences and 27% in other inside residences, like social and supportive housing and shelters.

“These were men, women and youth from all walks of life. They lived in our neighbourhoods, worked in our workplaces and played on our sports teams,” said Lapointe in her statement.

“It is imperative that we urgently provide access to safer supply across our province.”