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Coroners Service reports nearly 200 British Columbians lost to toxic drugs in July

According to a BC Conorers Service (BCCS) report, at least 192 B.C. residents lost their lives to drug poisoning in July.

The number represents a 31 per cent increase from June when 147 people died.

According to BCCS officials, July’s numbers mean an average of 6.2 people died from toxic drugs each day.

“As they have for the past seven years, these numbers reflect the ever-present threat that illicit drugs pose to substance users across B.C.,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner.

“The unregulated drug market continues to be volatile and toxic, and anyone using drugs purchased from illicit suppliers is at high risk for serious harm or death.”

BCCS officials said drug poisoning is the leading cause of unnatural death in B.C., and has a death rate of 42 people per 100,000 so far in 2022.

“Families and communities across the province are continuing to suffer the sudden and tragic deaths of loved ones due to toxic drugs,” said Lapointe. “Whether they are chronically substance-dependent or using only occasionally, all of those who access the illicit drug market are vulnerable to serious harms.”

“The subject-matter experts on the recent death review panel urgently recommended significant expansion of safer supply in communities throughout the province in order to reduce the devastation caused by this public-health crisis.”

The Coroners Service said more than 10,100 people have been killed by drug poisoning since the public health emergency was declared in 2016, with almost 1,300 deaths reported in 2022 alone.

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