Sunday, July 25, 2021
ADVT 
National

New record of overdose deaths for January: coroner

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 02 Mar, 2021 07:10 PM
  • New record of overdose deaths for January: coroner

British Columbia's chief coroner says deadlier street drugs are behind another grim milestone in the province's overdose crisis as a record was set for the number of deaths in January.

The BC Coroners Service says 165 people died from suspected overdoses in January, the largest number of lives lost due to illicit drugs in the first month of a calendar year.

It says the deaths come amid a rise in drug toxicity, with almost one in five of the deaths involving extreme levels of fentanyl concentration — the largest number recorded to date.

There were 14 deaths in which carfentanil was detected, the largest monthly figure involving the more lethal analogue of fentanyl since May 2019.

More people died from illicit drug overdoses in British Columbia last year than in any year before.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says more than twice the number of people died in January 2021 compared with January 2020 and the drug toxicity shows a need for swift action.

“The findings suggest that the already unstable drug supply in B.C. is becoming even deadlier, underscoring the urgent need for supervised consumption options, prescribing for safe supply, and accessible treatment and recovery services," she says in the statement.

The report also notes recent increases in the presence of unprescribed benzodiazepines and its analogues, including etizolam.

Since July 2020, etizolam has been identified in nearly one-third of illicit drug toxicity deaths where expedited testing was performed. In January, benzodiazepines and its analogues were detected in nearly half of all samples tested.

The addition of etizolam to fentanyl increases the likelihood of overdose due to the combined respiratory depressant effects, the coroners service says.

It says increased drug toxicity was responsible for an average of 5.3 lives lost each day in January.

Premier John Horgan and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart have written letters to the federal government asking for an exemption that would allow for the decriminalization of drug possession for personal use.

Sheila Malcolmson, the minister of mental health and addictions, says in a statement that the pandemic has pushed people further into isolation, compounding the effects of stigma that drives people to use drugs alone.

She says B.C. is working to add more treatment and recovery options, more services and supports, and to work with the federal government on decriminalization.

MORE National ARTICLES

AstraZeneca's vaccine not for seniors: NACI

AstraZeneca's vaccine not for seniors: NACI

The AstraZeneca vaccine was authorized for use Friday on all adults, including seniors, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization is concerned there is limited data on how well the vaccine will work in older populations.

AstraZeneca's vaccine not for seniors: NACI

B.C. to extend rent freeze through 2021

B.C. to extend rent freeze through 2021

The changes, if passed, will come into effect on July 1 and are in addition to earlier protections introduced in 2018.

B.C. to extend rent freeze through 2021

MPs to examine safety of travellers in quarantine

MPs to examine safety of travellers in quarantine

Liberal MP John McKay, the committee chairman, said Monday the hearing could take place this week but cautioned it would be a challenge to schedule witnesses in time.

MPs to examine safety of travellers in quarantine

How effective is the AstraZeneca vaccine?

How effective is the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Health Canada said Friday that real-world data from countries already using the product suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups.

How effective is the AstraZeneca vaccine?

UPDATE: Panorama Ridge Secondary in Surrey on lockdown after an assault with a weapon

UPDATE: Panorama Ridge Secondary in Surrey on lockdown after an assault with a weapon

It is not known what type of weapon was involved in the attack. The person that was injured was taken to hospital and is in stable condition.

UPDATE: Panorama Ridge Secondary in Surrey on lockdown after an assault with a weapon

Meng's lawyer says case against her 'unreliable'

Meng's lawyer says case against her 'unreliable'

Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport in 2018 on a request by U.S. officials who allege she misrepresented the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, causing HSBC to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Meng's lawyer says case against her 'unreliable'