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Coroners Service reports nearly 170 British Columbians lost to toxic drugs in August

According to a BC Conorers Service (BCCS) report, at least 169 B.C. residents lost their lives to drug poisoning in August.

The number represents a 12 per cent decrease from July when 193 people died.

According to BCCS officials, August’s numbers mean an average of 5.5 people died from toxic drugs each day.

“The illicit drug market continues to pose immense risks to people across our province,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. “People in communities across B.C. are continuing to lose friends, family members and colleagues to the unprecedented toxicity of the unregulated drug supply.”

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Last month’s numbers mean 1,468 B.C. residents lost their lives to drug poisoning so far in 2022.

BCCS officials said drug poisoning is the leading cause of unnatural death in B.C.

“The recent Coroners Service Death Review Panel highlighted the urgent need for the development of a provincial framework for safer supply distribution,” said Lapointe. “This measure, along with a governance framework that sets clear goals, targets and timeframes for reducing substance-related deaths, and the establishment of an evidence-based continuum of care for those experiencing problematic substance use, were identified as three key areas to address this public health crisis.”

The Coroners Service said more than 10,300 people have been killed by drug poisoning since the public health emergency was declared in 2016.

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