Skip to content

February was the 20th month in a row of at least 175 overdose deaths in B.C.

BC Coroners Service says monthly reported deaths down 12% from January 2024
People hold signs during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver on Saturday, August 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Toxic drug deaths were down in February compared to the previous month, but the BC Coroners Service still recorded 177 fatal overdoses.

Preliminary data released Friday (April 5) recorded 177 deaths from toxic, unregulated drugs in February 2024, according to a release from the Public Safety Ministry and BC Coroners Service. That’s an 11-per-cent decrease from February 2023, and a 12-per-cent decrease from January 2024.

An average of six people died per day in February.

But BC Coroners Service says February was the 20th consecutive month where there were at least 175 reported fatal overdoses in the province.

The latest numbers come just days ahead of the eighth anniversary of the B.C. declaring the opioid crisis. The province says at least 14,208 people in B.C. have died from unregulated drugs since April 2016.

The coroners service says the province’s rate of death in the first two month is 40.1 per 100,000 residents, which is below the record numbers reported in 2023. However, it is twice the rate recorded in April 2016 when the public health emergency was first declared.

The Northern and Island health authorities’ rates of death for the first two months of the year are higher than the provincial rate at 76.7 and 54.3, respectively.

Vancouver, Surrey and Nanaimo continue to see the highest number of fatal overdoses.

The province adds that unregulated drug toxicity is the leading cause of death in B.C. for people aged 10 to 59, accounting for more deaths than homicides, suicides, accidents and natural diseases combined.

READ MORE: Overdose prevention device saved 29 lives in B.C. in last year, maker says

Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
Read more