Opioid crisis claims 390 lives in 3 months in B.C. alone


New data released by the Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses shows that the opioid crisis claimed over 1,000 Canadian lives in the first three months of 2018.

What’s more, the data reveals that 94% of these deaths were accidental. In addition, opioid related deaths during this period increased by 5% compared to the same time period in 2017. Further, it increased 44% compared to the same time period in 2016.

The data also reveals that British Columbia had the highest number of drug related deaths in the country; these deaths include all illicit drugs, and are not limited to opioids. The province saw 390 deaths compared to 320 in Ontario, despite having a far lower population.

opioid crisis
Photo: Opioid Epidemic / Shutterstock

Individuals between the ages of 30 and 39 also represent the highest number of accidental apparent opioid-related deaths with 27% of fatalities. Furthermore, most accidental apparent opioid-related deaths occurred among males with 77% of fatalities.

The data also reveals that most accidental apparent opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl or fentanyl analogues.

The statistics are provided by the provinces as well as territories that collect data from their respective offices of Chief Coroners or Medical Examiners. As such, some provinces are not counted in this report. For example, Manitoba’s information was not available at the time of the publication, and therefore its findings could affect the current statistics.

Rates are calculated using the most current population data from Statistics Canada, and will likely change as more data becomes available.