Opioid overdoses killing three people a month in Chilliwack

35 deaths in 2018 locally compare to 23 in 2017, 13 in 2016 up from about five per year before that

Every 10 days someone in Chilliwack died of an opioid overdose last year.

The stark reality that illicit drug overdoses killed 35 people in Chilliwack in 2018, or three a month, is set against the broader reality that, on average, every single day someone dies in Vancouver and a staggering 1,489 people died from a drug overdose in B.C. last year.

The numbers paint a picture of a situation that, while not getting worse provincewide compared to 2017, is certainly not getting better.

Compared to the 1,489 in 2018, in 2017 there were 1,486 lives lost across the province, which has seen the lion’s share of the overdose crisis nationwide.

Locally however, things are getting worse. Compared to the 35 deaths in 2018, 23 people died of an illicit drug overdose in Chilliwack in 2017, 13 in 2016, 10 in 2015.

But between the years of 2007 and 2014, on average, fewer than five a year died in Chilliwack.

The numbers come from the latest report by the B.C. Coroner Service.

Chilliwack’s status compares to the 37 deaths in Abbotsford, but is higher than Nanaimo (34), New Westminster (34), Langley (29), Maple Ridge (27), Vernon (24), and Delta (21).

Roughly four people die per day across all corners of the province, the B.C. Coroner Service said in recent a news conference where the report was shared.

According to data compiled through toxicology reports, fentanyl was detected in 85 per cent of all deaths last year, up from 82 per cent in 2017.

Nearly five times as many men died compared to women.

READ MORE: New in-depth report sheds light on who in BC is dying of drug overdoses

READ MORE: B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

The three townships to see the brunt of the crisis were Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria, unchanged from the year before. The only other cities to see more deaths than Chilliwack were Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince George, Burnaby and Abbotsford.

Also for a second year, not a single death happened at an overdose prevention site or safe consumption site.

Overdose deaths by city

– with files from Ashley Wadhwani


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