According to the BC Coroners Service, the rate of illicit drug overdose deaths in BC was 31 deaths per 100,000 individuals in 2018, with one more month of statistics outstanding. Overall, this graph underscores the immediacy of the opioid crisis as number of deaths per 100,000 spiked during the second half of the decade. (BC Coroners Service)

According to the BC Coroners Service, the rate of illicit drug overdose deaths in BC was 31 deaths per 100,000 individuals in 2018, with one more month of statistics outstanding. Overall, this graph underscores the immediacy of the opioid crisis as number of deaths per 100,000 spiked during the second half of the decade. (BC Coroners Service)

Number of 2018 overdose deaths in Greater Victoria reaches 85

November statistics place Victoria third in province

Victoria recorded a total of 85 illicit drug overdose deaths between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, according to new figures from BC Coroners Service.

This figure ranked Victoria third overall in the province behind Vancouver with 361 deaths and Surrey with 195 deaths during the same period. In fact, Victoria has held this ranking since 2008.

Province-wide, 1380 people died of illicit drug overdoses between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, with figures for December not yet available. By way of context, 2008 saw 183 illicit drug overdose deaths. The three years with the highest recorded number of deaths are from 2016 to 2018.

RELATED: Friends, family remember Dan Sealey, stepson of Minister of Agriculture, in private gathering

Looking at the figures more closely, authorities recorded 120 suspected drug overdose deaths in November — an increase of 13 per cent compared to November 2017 (106) and an increase of nine per cent over the number of deaths occurring in October 2018 (110).

November was also the month when Dan Sealey, stepson of Lana Popham, provincial minister of agriculture, died of what his family said was an accidental drug overdose, at the age of 23.

The statistics from BC Coroners Service also confirm other key aspects of overdose deaths in British Columbia. Men accounted for a disproportionate share of 2018 deaths with 80 per cent, with many shading towards the older range of the age spectrum. Seventy-one per cent of overdose deaths were between the ages of 30 and 59.

RELATED: Men account for highest number of deaths in opioid crisis in B.C

Almost six out of 10 deaths (58 per cent) happened inside private residences. Other residences including social and supportive housing, SROs, shelters, and hotels accounted for 25 per cent.

About 12 per cent of recorded deaths in 2018 happened in vehicles, sidewalks, streets, and parks among other outside locations.

Looking at the larger picture, illicit drugs now cause the largest number of unnatural deaths in British Columbia, having surpassed suicide in the middle of the decade.

Looking at the types of drugs, authorities discovered illicit fentanyl alone or in combination with other drugs in 85 per cent of illicit drug overdose deaths — up from 82 per cent in 2017.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

Crews deal with a rock slide on the Malahat section of Highway 1 in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)
Rock work closes Highway 1 in Langford for spurts

Friday closures could delay drivers up to 20 minutes

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

Most Read