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Greater Victoria records 35 confirmed deaths due to toxic drug supply so far in 2023

116 total drug deaths on the Island as of the end of March

Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Greater Victoria records 35 confirmed deaths due to toxic drug supply so far in 2023

116 total drug deaths on the Island as of the end of March

BC’s Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe/ Province of BC Flickr
BC’s Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe/ Province of BC Flickr
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Greater Victoria records 35 confirmed deaths due to toxic drug supply so far in 2023

116 total drug deaths on the Island as of the end of March

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Greater Victoria records 35 confirmed deaths due to toxic drug supply so far in 2023
BC’s Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe/ Province of BC Flickr

A recent report from BC's Coroners Service paints another grim picture of the toxic drug crisis in the province, and on Vancouver Island.

On average, 6.4 people are dying from overdoses every day in BC, with half of these deaths occurring in private residences, social and supportive housing, or shelters. Greater Victoria is among Vancouver and Surrey as the three BC townships experiencing the highest number of illicit drug deaths, recording 6% of the total in 2023 so far.

As of these new numbers, which update the 2023 total through to March, Vancouver Island recorded 116 deaths linked to the toxic drug supply including 37 in the South Island. For the first time, the Central Island is leading in reported deaths due to toxic drugs, with 53 so far.

“An urgent response to this crisis is required and overdue,” said BC chief coroner Lisa Lapointe in a press release.

Last Wednesday, April 12, marked the seventh anniversary of the crisis’ public declaration.

Moms Stop The Harm, an advocacy group consisting of those who have lost family members to the toxic drug crisis, gathered at the Ministry of Health building on Blanshard Street last week to demand better solutions.

In September, representatives for the group told Capital Daily there is no adequate safe supply, no adequate detox and treatment options, and no proper decriminalization for those suffering from addiction.

Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jennifer Whiteside released a statement in regards to the anniversary. “Our government is urgently working to expand supports and programs to deliver the integrated mental-health and addiction services that British Columbians need,” she said.

Close to 12,000 people have lost their lives due to an unregulated drug supply since April 2016, and in the past two months, at least 374 deaths reported are believed to be caused by toxic drugs.

The crisis continues to set staggering records, year by year.

Between January and March of 2023, 596 lives have been lost—only slightly behind 2022 (599) as the most lives taken in the first three months of a calendar year.

The coroners service also reported updated numbers from 2022, increasing the total to a new record of 2,314 lives lost. Of those, 17% occurred on the South Island. Overdoses remain as one of the leading causes of unnatural deaths in BC.

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