CHARTS: Drug overdose deaths in B.C. by city, region

Vancouver is top B.C. city for drug fatalities, but high numbers also in Surrey, Victoria, Nanaimo, Kamloops and Kelowna

Fentanyl may be passed off as Oxycontin or can be added to other opiates sold by dealers.

Fentanyl was a factor in nearly half of B.C.’s illegal drug overdose deaths in the first three months of 2016, according to new statistics released by the B.C. Coroners Service.

That’s up sharply from last year, when the powerful and often deadly opiate was detected in 32 per cent of drug overdose deaths, and from 25 per cent in 2014.

A total of 256 drug overdose deaths were recorded from January to April 30, compared to 480 in all of 2015.

While Vancouver accounted for 49 drug overdose deaths so far this year, there have been large numbers in other cities – 31 in Surrey, 17 in Victoria, 15 in Nanaimo and 14 each in Kamloops and Kelowna.

Explore the data with our interactive charts below

The Fraser Health region accounted for the largest overall number of overdoses so far in 2016 – 76 up until April 30 after 171 deaths in 2015 – followed by Metro Vancouver, with 66 deaths this year.

However, more of the deaths so far this year were fentanyl-linked in Metro Vancouver.

In most cases where fentanyl was a factor, it was used in combination with other drugs.

Significant numbers of overdose deaths are also being recorded in other regions – 54 so far this year on Vancouver Island, 45 in the Interior and 28 within the Northern health region.

Three youths aged 10 to 19 are among the dead due to fentanyl so far this year, and four others in that age group died of drug overdoses that were not linked to fentanyl.

The latest statistics come a month after Provincial Health Officer Perry Kendall declared a first-ever public health emergency in B.C. to try to address the sharp rise in opioid drug overdoses.

The measure empowers more rapid collection of data from regional and provincial authorities, so overdose treatment kits can be quickly deployed to specific areas when there are new incident clusters.

Health Minister Terry Lake said Thursday he believes lives were saved in recent weeks in Kamloops as a result of authorities being able to quickly react to real-time information.

Create your own infographics

Just Posted

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Pacific Insight to lay off part of workforce

The company says it is transferring automotive production to its Mexico facility

Black belt tests on this week at Kootenay Martial Arts

Grandmaster Brenda Sell returns to assist in testing

UPDATED: Four Nelson marijuana dispensaries to remain open after legalization

Nelson’s police chief has no plans to close them down

Nelson candidates debate climate change at forum

Mayoral and council candidates had the chance to speak on five fictional resolutions

VIDEO: Candidates at Nelson election forum

Mayoral candidates joined 18 council candidates for an evening of very short answers

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Baby boomer buba shares heartfelt novel with Okanagan audience

Pauline Daniel will be at Vernon’s Bookland and library Oct. 20

Most Read