Fentanyl overdose deaths soar in Fraser region

Coroners say at least 13 have died so far this year from potent narcotic

The B.C. Coroners Service is warning of a spike in fentanyl drug overdose deaths in the Fraser Health region.

It says 13 people died after ingesting the synthetic drug in the Fraser region in the first four months of this year, compared to 12 fentanyl-linked deaths in all of 2013 and just six in 2012.

Four of the confirmed deaths were in Surrey, three were in Langley, three more were in Maple Ridge and two were in Coquitlam.

But regional coroner Liana Wright said those numbers may soon climb.

“We have some pretty strong indications there are more deaths attributed to fentanyl since April 30th and we’re just awaiting confirmation of the toxicology analysis,” she said.

Wright said most of the victims injected or snorted what they believed was either heroin or oxycodone that turned out to be fentanyl.

It’s a potent narcotic that’s more toxic than morphine and is used in hospitals.

“We’re not sure how it’s making its way out into the community or if it’s being produced illicitly,” she said.

Although most victims were chronic addicted drug users, Wright said some could be called recreational users and she cautioned that fentanyl could be deadly on a first use.

Even handling fentanyl is risky as it can be absorbed through the skin or mucous membranes, she added.

Wright said the concentration of deaths in certain cities doesn’t mean that’s where the suspect drugs were purchased.

The coroners service discourages drug use but says those who engage in it should use extreme caution, preferably at a site with medical assistance nearby.

Just Posted

Severe thunderstorm possible for Fraser Valley

Environment Canada has put out a watch for the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon

VIDEO: Young black bear killed downtown Chilliwack

Video shows bear running down residential street moments earlier

Kent to test out drop-in daycare at CRCC this fall

The service will run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from September to December

Chilliwack man who allegedly fled scene of accident charged with impaired driving

Ryan Michael Gillanders has a history of criminal convictions for bad driving, robbery, theft

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Driver has $240K McLaren impounded minutes after buying it in West Vancouver

Officers clocked the car travelling at 160 km/h along Highway 1 in a 90 km/h zone

Former Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

B.C. Olympic skier sues Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Most Read