March was the deadliest month for overdoses in B.C. in the last year, according to new statistics from the BC Coroners Service.
The agency says 113 people died of suspected illicit drug overdoses in March 2020, the first time the overdose death toll has topped 100 since March of last year.
The number of overdose deaths in March represented a three per cent drop year-over-year, but a staggering 61 per cent increase from February 2020, the coroners service said.
The Fraser Health region (91 per cent) and Island Health region (80 per cent) saw the largest increase in fatalities from the Janurary-February average this year.
The vast majority of victims in 2020 are men (76 per cent) and people aged 19 to 49 (73 per cent).
While Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria have recorded the highest number of deaths this year, the Northern Health region had the highest rate of drug deaths when adjusted for population, with 23 deaths per 100,000 people.
As in previous reports from the coroners service, most deaths (86 per cent) happened indoors, more than half of them in private residences, and about a quarter in supportive housing, shelters or other indoor locations.
The province recently introduced new clinical guidance for the prescription of opioids that could make it easier for drug users to get access to safe drugs in an effort to reduce the risk of overdose and promote physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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