Paramedics revive a man overdosing on Yale Road in downtown Chilliwack in June 2017. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)

Illicit drug overdose fatalities continue in Chilliwack

First quarter data show 100% of local illicit drug overdoses involved fentanyl up from 75% last year

Six people died of illicit drug overdoses in the first three months of 2019 in Chilliwack, a number that used to mark an entire year of deaths prior to the current opioid crisis in B.C.

And while it may sound unsurprising that all six, 100 per cent, of those deaths were fentanyl-detected, in 2018, 74 per cent (26 out of 35) involved fentanyl, according to the BC Corners Service illicit drug overdose report issued Wednesday.

In 2017 in Chilliwack, 78 per cent (18 out of 23) of fatal illegal drug overdoses involved fentanyl, and in 2016 it was 61.5 per cent (eight out of 13).

Provincewide there were 268 fatal drug overdoses in the first quarter of the year, and a concerning amount of those deaths involved carfentanil – a drug more toxic than fentanyl.

Carfentanil, a powerful opioid used by veterinarians for large animals like elephants, was found in toxicology reports on 64 British Columbians who died between January and March, the BC Coroner Service said.

• READ MORE: Carfentanil, an opioid more toxic than illicit fentanyl, on the rise in B.C.: Coroner

That’s compared to 35 deaths linked to the opioid in 2018.

Carfentanil is 100 times more toxic than fentanyl – the illicit street drug that accounts for 80 per cent of the 3,200 overdose deaths that have occurred since 2017.

In March, there were 104 suspected drug overdose deaths in B.C., a 34 per cent decrease over March 2018 but a 42 per cent increase over February.

Overall, the 268 deaths in the first quarter is lower than 2017 or 2018. At the current pace, there would be 1,072, the third most ever, but down from 1,514 in 2018 and 1,491 in 2017.

In 2018 in Chilliwack, there was a total of 35 deaths attributed to the opioid crisis. That’s up from 23 in 2017, 13 in 2016, 10 in 2015, and an average of just over five for each of the six years before that going back to 2009.

Chilliwack ranked ninth in the province in 2018 for communities with the most illicit drug overdose deaths, with five fewer than Abbotsford and one more than New Westminster. So far there have already been 13 in Abbotsford, the same as Victoria.

After just three quarters of statistics in 2018, Chilliwack’s overdose fatality rate had surpassed 2017.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack drug overdose deaths in 2018 already surpass 2017

The top three cities for overdose deaths last year were Vancouver (389), Surrey (212), and Victoria (96).

A review of completed cases from 2017-19 indicates that the top four detected other drugs involved in fentanyl-detected illicit drug overdose deaths were cocaine (49 per cent), alcohol (39 per cent), methamphetamine/amphetamine (37 per cent).

– with files from Ashley Wadhwani

 

Just Posted

Family of Chilliwack pilot killed in Honduras crash creates memorial scholarship fund

Parents, sister of Patrick Forseth fundraising to pay to send aspiring pilots to flight school

COLUMN: Search for Grace shows community’s true nature

As Chilliwack searches for missing woman, a writer looks back 61 years at a similar story

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

Weapons, drugs, cash, vehicles seized from downtown Chilliwack house

July 5 raid at Princess Avenue address led to one arrest and charges so far

OPINION: Victims too often pushed aside in B.C.’s criminal justice system

What do the complainants in criminal cases want to see done? No one is asking

VIDEO: Wet weather kicks off Lower Mainland toad migration

Thousands of small western toads were making the trek from pond to woods

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Most Read