Illicit drug toxicity death rates have been on the decline over the past two years, according to a report from the B.C. Coroners Service.
The B.C. Coroners Service defined illicit drugs as illegal substances lie MDMA, meth, fentanyl s well as unprescribed medications and any combinations thereof.
The report stretches form 2009 to 2019. Fraser East – a region encompassing Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, Mission and the District of Kent –experienced a gradual decline from its highest number of deaths in 2017 at 105 down to 99 in 2018 and down to 87 in 2019.
The decade started out low with only nine deaths in 2009 before the number more than doubled in 2010 at 22. That number rose again in 2011 to 31 and dropped back to 20 each for the next two years. Illicit drug toxicity deaths reached its lowest number in five years in 2014 at 16 deaths.
The numbers continued an alarming upward trend from 2015 to 2017, rising sharply from 42 to 67 to 105 before subsiding slowly over the course of the next two years.
Across the province, there was a 36 per cent decrease in drug toxicity deaths from 1,543 to 981. However, that death rate remains higher than 2015 at 529, which equates roughly. It was in 2016 officials declared illicit drug deaths as a public health emergency.