A look at the Illicit Drug Toxicity Deaths by Top Townships of Injury in the first eight months 2020. (BC Coroners Service)

A look at the Illicit Drug Toxicity Deaths by Top Townships of Injury in the first eight months 2020. (BC Coroners Service)

Drug overdose fatalities on the rise in Chilliwack so far in 2020

Toxicity of street drugs dramatically increased during the pandemic, coroners service report shows

Overdose deaths in Chilliwack in the first eight months of the year were higher than for all of 2019.

There were 22 deaths in Chilliwack from illicit-drug toxicity in August 2020, compared to 21 such fatalities for all of 2019, according to the BC Coroners Service report on overdose numbers released Sept. 23.

At this rate, the Chilliwack community could be on pace to see a total of 31 or 32 illicit-drug overdose deaths for 2020.

But the total in 2018 was even higher with 37 deaths that year.

The recent data supports the thesis that toxicity of the street-level drug supply had dramatically increased during the pandemic, sparking concerns expressed by top doctors and researchers, including provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and chief coroner Lisa Lapointe.

The numbers published in this most recent report suggests an increase in the number of cases with extreme fentanyl concentrations (exceeding 50 micrograms per litre) in the summer, compared to previous months.

See the entire report.

READ MORE: OD deaths already surpass 2019 total

READ MORE: Illicit drug ODs continue


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A Naloxone kit photographed on Sept. 18, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)

A Naloxone kit photographed on Sept. 18, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)