Chilliwack is on pace to have a particularly bad year in terms of drug overdose deaths.
There were 30 OD fatalities reported in Chilliwack in the first six months of 2021, according to the B.C. Coroners Service report.
That total to the end of June put Chilliwack in the number seven spot provincewide in terms of the “top townships of injury” due to illicit drug toxicity deaths.
It was especially high given there were 35 suspected fatalities due to drug overdose in all of 2020 in Chilliwack.
But the worst year on record so far was 2018 when Chilliwack mourned a total of 37 people who had died of suspected overdose.
Provincial health officials have been urging “extreme caution” for those who use during the health emergencies of pandemic and overdose crisis, especially given the increasingly toxic supply of illegal drugs hitting B.C. Some batches were reportedly more resistant to naloxone.
So only halfway through 2021 and the number of fatalities, 30, already surpassed year-end OD totals for Chilliwack recorded by Coroners Service every year from 2011 to 2017. To compare with nearby cities in the first six months of 2021, Abbotsford saw 39 drug-toxicity deaths, while Surrey suffered 121. Langley had 18, while Maple Ridge saw 23.
The B.C. total of 1,011 suspected overdose deaths between January and June 2021 are the “highest ever recorded in the first six months of a calendar year,” according to the report. They represent a 34-per-cent increase over the number of deaths recorded between January and June 2020 (757).
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