Brief: BC Coroners Service releases overdose data, revealing three deaths in Revelstoke

According to BC Coroners Service, 1,534 people have died of accidental illicit drug poisoning in the first nine months of 2021, breaking a grim record in the ongoing health crisis.

File photo: Naloxone kits, like the one pictured, are freely available across the province to mitigate overdose deaths. Photo: Bailey Gingras-Hamilton

BC Coroners Service released updated illicit drug poisoning statistics on Nov. 9, revealing three fatalities this year in Revelstoke.

The Nov. 9 report released by BC Coroners Service summarizes all unintentional illicit drug toxicity from January to September 2021 in the province. According to the report, 333 people died in August and September alone. This brings the provincial death toll to 1,534, the highest recorded in the first nine months of a calendar year.

Regional data included in the report shows three overdose fatalities in Revelstoke from January to August 2021. BC Coroners Service does not specify when these deaths occurred.

A number of alarming trends are highlighted by BC Coroners Service, a judicially independent entity of the provincial government. Data reveals that illicit drug fatalities are up 24 per cent for the first nine months of 2021, compared to the same time period in 2020.

A graph included in the Nov. 9 BC Coroners Report puts overdose deaths into perspective. Photo: BC Coroners Service

“It’s heartbreaking to see so many lives lost in August and September due to the drug-poisoning crisis. My thoughts and sympathies go out to all the families who have lost a loved one,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions in a statement.

Malcolmson later announced the “historic expansion of substance-use treatment and recovery services,” including 10 new specialized addiction-treatment beds in Surrey. The announcement did not mention any expanded services in the Interior Health region.

According to BC Coroners Service, no deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.