This data has been compiled to better understand overall illicit drug overdose trends in British Columbia and to inform other agencies’ public safety strategies in a timely manner.  Please see the BC Coroners Service website for a summary of illicit drug overdose deaths: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/public-safety/death-investigation/statisticalreports. Note that fentanyl-detected data is subject to change as further analogue testing becomes available.
There were 139 illicit drug overdose deaths with fentanyl detected from January through February 2017. This is a 90% increase over the number of deaths (73) occurring during the same period in 2016.
From January to February 2017, fentanyl was detected in 61% of illicit drug overdose deaths (139 of 227).
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority had the highest number (48) of illicit drug overdose deaths with fentanyl detected from January through February 2017, followed by Fraser Health (39) and Vancouver Island Health Authority (29).,
The Health Service Delivery Areas with the most fentanyl-detected illicit drug overdose deaths from January through February 2017 were Vancouver HSDA (43), Fraser South HSDA (24), and Okanagan HSDA (15). When looking at individual townships over the same time period, the highest numbers of deaths were seen in Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria. , BC Coroners Service Fentanyl-Detected Apparent Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths, 2012-2017 YTD Page 2 of 6
A review of toxicological findings for 325 fentanyl-detected illicit drug overdose deaths in 2016 was conducted. In 96% of these deaths, at least one substance other than fentanyl was detected. The four most frequently detected drugs (including alcohol) were as follows:
- Cocaine (50% of deaths)
- Ethyl alcohol (38% of deaths)
- Methamphetamine/amphetamine (34% of deaths)
- Heroin (32% of deaths)
Preliminary data for January through February 2017 suggest that the proportion of apparent illicit drug overdose deaths with fentanyl detected (alone or in combination with other drugs) is approximately 61%. Proportions from 2012 to 2017 are as follows:
- 2012 = 4%
- 2013 = 15%
- 2014 = 25%
- 2015 = 29%
- 2016 = 62%
- 2017 (Jan.-Feb) = 61%