Opioid overdoses claimed more than 3,200 lives in first nine months of 2018

Fentanyl and other fentanyl-related substances continue to be a ‘major driver’

An OPP officer displays bags containing fentanyl as Ontario Provincial Police host a news conference in Vaughan, Ont., on February 23, 2017. The Public Health Agency has released new data showing that than 3,200 Canadians died after apparent opioid-related overdoses between January and September of last year. The agency says the numbers mean more than 10,3000 Canadians died as a result of apparent opioid-related overdoses between January 2016 and September 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

The Public Health Agency of Canada has released new data showing that more than 3,200 Canadians died after apparent opioid-related overdoses between January and September last year.

The data also indicates that fentanyl and other fentanyl-related substances continue to be a “major driver” of Canada’s opioid crisis, with 73 per cent of accidental apparent opioid-related deaths in the nine-month span involving the potent painkilling drug.

READ MORE: Health Canada tightens marketing requirements for opioid prescriptions

Public Health says the crisis continues to affect the entire country but certain regions, including B.C., Alberta and Ontario, have been hit harder than others.

Apparent opioid-related deaths are counted through data provided by the provinces and territories from offices of chief coroners or medical examiners.

Opioids can be hard to disentangle from other factors in a death, including different drugs and underlying illnesses, so the numbers take a long time to crunch and come with qualifiers.

But Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public-health officer, says the newly released figures serve as a “stark reminder” of the importance of maintaining and ramping up efforts to stop the epidemic.

“As we take the pain of these losses and the deeply concerning data to heart we must continue to strengthen our collaborative public health response,” she said in a statement.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

New residential building under construction at Kerr site

Ground has broken on a four-storey, 44-unit mixed use building

Castlegar police seek dawn home intruder

Man walked into house at 4 a.m., asks son about mother

Kootenay Burlesque Festival returns to Nelson

Over 50 performers will hit the stage at the Capitol Theatre

Four fires still burning in West Kootenay

More than 25 fires were started by lightning in the last week.

Nelson woman celebrated for achievement in literacy

Paulina Mason was honoured by the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Police investigating fatal collision near Grave Lake

Grave Lake is located approximately halfway between Sparwood and Elkford

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read