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OD Deaths increasing in BC

The toxic illicit drug supply claimed the lives of at least 2,224 British Columbians in 2021, according to preliminary data released by the BC Coroners Service.

The last two months of 2021 saw the largest number of suspected illicit drug deaths ever recorded in the province, with 210 deaths in November and an additional 215 in December. The 2,224 total number of deaths is 26% more than the 1,767 illicit drug-related deaths investigated by the BC Coroners Service in 2020, and equates to an average of 6.1 lives lost every day.

The provincewide death rate in 2021 was 42.8 per 100,000 residents. Every health authority in B.C. experienced a record loss of lives.

Since the public health emergency into substance-related harms was first declared in April 2016, more than 8,800 British Columbians have been lost to toxic drugs.

Learn More:

BC Centre for Disease Control – Knowledge Update on hydromorphone and illicit drug toxicity deaths: 2021.09.15_Knowledge Update_Hydromorphone and drug toxicity deaths.pdf (

BC Centre on Substance Use:

Risk mitigation prescribing guidelines in the context of dual public health emergencies:

BC Centre for Disease Control overdose response indicators:

BC Centre for Disease Control factsheet on etizolam:

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