B.C. Emergency Health Services says it responded to 130 overdoses in the province on April 26, 2017 shattering the previous daily record set in November 2016. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Report may offer a ray of hope in B.C. opioid crisis

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There may be glimmer of hope in the opioid crisis that has been ravaging British Columbia, prompting the province to declare a medical state of emergency in the spring of 2016.

New data released by the B.C. Coroners Service this week shows that 2019 started with a short-term lowering of the number of drug overdose deaths.

According to the report, the total number of illicit drug overdose deaths dropped by 31 per cent in January compared to January 2018–down from 130 suspected deaths last year to 90 this year.

A report this week may give hope go those trying to solve the British Columbia opioid crisis, though the number of homeless persons caught in the crisis has not diminished long-term. At least so far. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

According to the report, a decline was also seen month-to-month, with a drop of 22 per cent from the 116 deaths in December of 2018.

Anomaly?

Remains to be seen.

A syringe full of ‘down,’ presumably containing fentanyl, sits on an injection table at the Molson Overdose Prevention Site on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Meanwhile, on Thursday the B.C. Coroners Service released figures on showing the scope–and growth–of the opioid problem.

The report shows that in 2016–the year the province declared a health emergency in April--the number of homeless deaths more than doubled from 2015.

The figures: 175 homeless individuals died across the province in 2016 compared to 73 persons in 2015.

In British Columbia, 175 homeless people died between 2015 and 2016, a 140 per cent increase over 2015’s 73 deaths. (Michael Charles Cole/CBC)

That’s an increase of 140 per cent.

The report says that in 2016, 86 per cent of accidental deaths and 53 per cent of all deaths resulted from, unintentional drug and/or alcohol poisoning.

That’s a big jump from 2007 to 2015 when drug and/or alcohol poisoning accounted for an average of 63 per cent of accidental deaths and 34 per cent of all deaths.

The findings show that 85 per cent of those who died were male.

With files from CBC, CTV, CP

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One comment on “Report may offer a ray of hope in B.C. opioid crisis
  1. Elene Koutsogoula says:

    I am one of the unfortunate moms who lost my only son from fentanyl poisoning in summer of 2017.He was 33, fully employed, clean and healthy. While he was in hospital on life support, a policeman from his area in Maple Ridge visited me and asked me to sign a form, allowing them to investigate. His exact words were, “Mam, I promise to do everything in our hands to find out who killed your son. He took my numbers for communication. Not only I never heard from them, when I tried visiting the station I got nowhere. After several attempts and a year’s time, I tried calling again, asked for the particular officer, only to be told abruptly by this rude lady officer that he was no longer there. And when I asked her if she could help me and fill me in on my boy’s file, the answer was,”what do you expect to find lady, your son was an addict” Needless to say I never called back from fear that I will be reprimanded again. The end of the story is that I would like to get any information possible, like his last phone conversations, or anything that would throw some light into his loss. It’s devastating enough to lose your only child, let alone to be left in the dark as far as the circumstances go. I really wish this doesn’t happen to no other parent and the police would be more humane and approach me like a human being.