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Another grim record for toxic drug overdose deaths in B.C. so far in 2022

Chilliwack Progress - 11/8/2022

Six years into the opioid crisis and things are only getting worse.

And while the number of illegal drug toxicity deaths in Chilliwack is not good, it's not as bad as last year.

Provincewide, 1,644 people died of overdose over the first 10 months of the year, from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, up from 1,629 over the same period in 2021. That number was up from 1,181 in 2017, the second year overdose numbers started to really climb and a crisis was declared.

In Chilliwack, 27 people died up until the end of last month, which is down from 46 who died over that period in 2021.

To compare to similar sized communities, 28 died in Maple Ridge, 34 in Langley, 51 in Nanaimo, 56 in Prince George, and 66 in Kamloops.

"British Columbians are continuing to suffer the tragic effects of a toxic and volatile drug supply, with almost six members of our communities dying each day,"said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. "Both those who use drugs occasionally and those who are substance-dependent are at risk of sudden death from the unpredictable illicit market."

September is the 24th consecutive month in which at least 150 deaths suspected to have been caused by illicit drug toxicity were reported to the BC Coroners Service.

Illicit drug toxicity is the leading cause of unnatural death in British Columbia and is second only to cancers in terms of years of life lost. At least 10,505 British Columbians have been lost to illicit drugs since the public-health emergency into substance-related harms was first declared in April 2016.

No deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.

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