Friday, June 10, 2016

[Chinese produced] Fentanyl OD's outpace car deaths

ODs outpace car deaths

UPDATED: 6:37 p.m.
British Columbia's chief coroner said illicit drug overdoses have become the leading cause of unnatural death in the province, outpacing fatalities from vehicle crashes.
A new report from the BC Coroner Service identifies 308 illicit drug overdose deaths from January through May of this year, compared with 176 deaths in the same period last year.
Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said that overdose deaths could amount to 750 people by the end of 2016 if the trend continues. In comparison, there were 300 fatalities from motor vehicle incidents in the province in 2015.
Health Minister Terry Lake said the government is looking for solutions to stop the soaring number of overdose deaths, including adding more safe-consumption sites, similar to the safe-injection facility in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Lake said he wants the federal government to reconsider laws that restrict the opening of such facilities in order to allow health authorities to create more of these services.
"We have seen the evidence. We know that we can reduce overdose deaths, we can reduce other related harms, reduce hospitalizations and connect people to services once they're ready to accept that help."
The minister said Vancouver Coastal Health is planning to open five safe-consumption sites, and health authorities across the province are looking at similar options.

Tyndall said more services are needed, including rapid access to detox programs, to help people with addictions.
The health minister acknowledged there is a gap and said the government is investing in new services and centres for mental health and substance abuse.
However, Lake said "you can't flip a switch" and it will take time for new services to have an effect.

ORIGINAL: 12:24 p.m.
More than half of all drug overdose deaths in B.C. are linked to the Chinese produced, fentanyl.
That according to figures released Thursday by the B.C. Coroners Service.
The report reveals that 308 people died from an overdose of illicit drugs through the first five months of 2016. That's an increase of 75 per cent over 2015.
It also states that in more than half (56 per cent) of those cases, fentanyl was detected (alone or in combination with other drugs).
That's a sharp proportional increase over the previous four years.
  • 2012 - 5 per cent
  • 2013 - 15 per cent
  • 2014 - 25 per cent
  • 2015 - 31 per cent
But, while the number of drug-related deaths has risen dramatically, the number do show some room for optimism.
The number of illicit drug overdose deaths in May (42) was well below those of each of the first four months of the year. That number is consistent with deaths in the same month in both 2014 and 2015 (41 and 42, respectively).
The report identifies 42 overdose deaths in May, fewer than each of the previous four months. The number is also consistent with drug deaths recorded in May 2014 and May 2015, before the recent spike in fatalities.
B.C.'s public health officer declared a health emergency in April due to the soaring numbers of drug-related deaths in the province.