A protester holds a sign during a rally to mark the 2019 National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis. / Black Press File Photo

A protester holds a sign during a rally to mark the 2019 National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis. / Black Press File Photo

Mission’s record for drug-toxicity deaths broken 6 months into 2022

19 deaths in first half of 2022; previous record was 18 for entire year

Toxic drugs have killed more people in Mission in the first six month of 2022 than any previous annual record.

A total of 19 people died from Jan. 1 to June 30, compared to the record set in 2021 and 2017, where 18 people died over a 12-month period, according to the latest data from the BC Coroners Service.

The number of deaths in Mission has slowed since the first quarter, where 13 deaths were recorded.

The city’s death rate per 100,000 people during those first three months was the second highest in the entire province. Only Lillooet, with three deaths in a population of 2,275, had a worse rate.

Across B.C., 1,095 people have died in the first six months – another record. The previous six-month record was set in 2021.

An average of five people in B.C. have died every day from illicit drugs this year.

Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said the province was “once again, on track for a record loss of life.”

“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,” Lapointe said.

Among the dead: 78 per cent were men, 73 per cent were between the ages of 30 and 59, and 56 per cent occurred in private homes; in Fraser Health, 68 per cent died in private homes, and under 15 per cent died outside.

Fentanyl (alone or combined with other drugs) was found in 83 per cent of deaths where testing occurred in 2022, and benzodiazepines is being detected in 33 per cent of samples as of June.

Over 10,000 deaths have been recorded since the province declared a public health emergency in April 2016; over the last decade, the number of annual deaths has increased by over 800 per cent provincially.

In 2012, fentanyl was detected in just five per cent of tests after an illicit-drug death occurred.

The B.C. government committed to expanding the safe supply program 21 months ago, calling on doctors to start issuing prescriptions for pharmaceutical-grade drugs as an alternative to the poisoned street-supply.

The BC Coroners Service report says there is zero evidence that a prescribed supply is contributing to illicit-drug deaths.

For more, see the overdose prevention guide at :

https://bit.ly/overdoseprevention_mission

Missionoverdose crisis

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