The BC Coroners Service says in the first seven months of the year, 433 people died from illicit drug overdoses.
While there was a small drop in July, year on year that’s a 74 per cent increase compared to the same time period last year.
READ MORE: Fentanyl blamed for spike in overdose deaths
From January until the end of June, fentanyl was detected in about two-thirds of the overdose deaths.
The most common other drug found was cocaine.
B.C.’s Northern Region now has the highest proportion of overdose deaths in which fentanyl is detected: 75% .
Drug users are cautioned to not use alone, and to have a naloxone kit nearby, with someone trained in using it.
The fentanyl epidemic: a look through 2016 so far
It was the first time a province had done it: in April, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared drug overdoses a public health emergency in B.C.
This followed a total of 474 drug overdose deaths in 2015 — a number that B.C. is already coming close to by mid-summer 2016.
It’s the first time a province has done it.
But B.C. says the number of drug-related overdose deaths is a crisis.
Health Minister Terry Lake said at the time that the state of emergency would allow more detailed overdose information to be easily accessed.
“All the experts agree that what’s needed, critically, is real time information in the hands of public health officials. And to do this, for the first time ever, provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall is exercising emergency powers provided him under the public health act.”
March/April statistics showed a severe spike
As data was released in May, a sizable increase in fentanyl related deaths could be easily tracked.
And it wasn’t just fentanyl related deaths that were spiking by the first quarter of 2016, a comparison of illicit drug related overdose deaths over the past nine years clearly indicated a huge leap for B.C.