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More than 900 People Died of Drug Overdoses in BC Last Year

The deadliest year since record keeping began, overdose deaths climbed by 80 percent over 2015.

British Columbia's opioid crisis took 914 lives in 2016, according to new statistics released by the BC Coroner. The province's chief medical officer Perry Kendall called the revelation "surprising and disheartening."

December proved to be the deadliest month of the year, with 142 overdose deaths recorded. Fifty-one of those deaths were in Vancouver, averaging more than one per day. The new numbers make 2016 one of the deadliest years on record, stemming from a spike that began in November.

The year began with a rash of fatal overdoses, setting a record of 82 overdoses in January. At the time, officials speculated that as many as 800 could die last year. Though the pace of deaths slowed in the spring, due in part to efforts to equip firefighters with the opioid-blocking drug naloxone, the proportion of deaths where fentanyl was detected rose to 60 percent, up from 31 percent the previous year.

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