Victoria: BC Coroners Service on Thursday released its report on deaths due to toxic drug supply in the province. 

According to the preliminary data from the BC Coroners Service, 206 people lost their lives to unregulated supply of illicit toxic drugs. 

In the first four months of this year, 814 people have died due to illicit toxic drugs. 

BC Coroners Service said the illicit drug supply remains highly volatile and fentanyl is present in about eight of every 10 deaths, almost always in combination with other substances. 

“Illicit fentanyl continues to be the main and most lethal driver of B.C.’s drug-toxicity public-health emergency, having been detected in 86 per cent of deaths in 2022 and 79 per cent of deaths in 2023,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. 

“Cocaine, methamphetamines and/or benzodiazapines are also often present. This drug poisoning crisis is the direct result of an unregulated drug market. Members of our communities are dying because non-prescribed, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl is poisoning them on an unprecedented scale,” she added.

BC Coroners Service said the total number of deaths in April equates to about 6.9 lives lost every day. 

Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jennifer Whiteside said, “In April, we lost 206 people to the toxic illicit drug supply. These were friends, family, neighbours and co-workers, and my heart goes out to all of the loved ones left behind in the wake of the toxic drug crisis.”

“Our government is building an integrated health-care system to ensure people have access to the treatment and recovery services they need when they make the brave decision to reach out for help. We are building new treatment centres, community recovery sites and a new model of care at St. Paul’s Hospital so people can move seamlessly through detox to recovery,” she added. 

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