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Fraser Valley/Victoria – In the Fraser Valley alone in August of 2018, there have been 27 overdose deaths, most of which caused by the opioid crisis and two thirds of those people died alone.

The majority of the deaths range in age from 19-59, and when income assistance cheques are handed out.

Those are the recent numbers from the BC Coroner’s office.

The 34-page report, Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC: Findings of Coroners’ Investigations, looked deeper into 872 completed illicit drug overdose death investigations in 2016 and 2017 and found:

  • More than half of the decedents had a reported a clinical mental health diagnosis or showed evidence of a mental health disorder;
  • About four in every five decedents had contact with health services in the year preceding their death;
  • More than two-thirds used drugs alone;
  • 45% of decedents had reported pain-related issues;
  • 14% of decedents lived in social or single room occupancy housing and 9% were homeless;
  • About one in every four deaths involved people, primarily males, working in trades or transport;
  • 65% of decedents were never married and 18% were previously separated or divorced; and,
  • 44% of decedents were employed and 51% unemployed.

The report also confirmed findings previously shared by the coroners service, including:

  • Four in every five decedents were male (81%, or 707 of the 872 deaths);
  • About two-thirds of decedents lived in private residences; and,
  • Fentanyl was detected in just over three in every four deaths.
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