Four Kootenay residents killed by toxic drugs through March

Fentanyl testing strips. (Supplied by Interior Health)

Toxic drugs claimed the lives of three Kootenay Boundary residents and one person in the East Kootenay in March.

This comes as the BC Coroners Service reported at least 192 drug poisoning deaths across the province through March.

“The data reflects an 11% decrease in the number of lives lost when compared with March 2023 (215), when 6.9 people died each day from toxic drugs,” said B.C. officials. “In March 2024, 6.2 deaths per day were tied to the unregulated drug supply.”

According to the BC Coroners Service, at least 572 people have died in B.C. in the first three months of 2024.

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“These were people with hopes, dreams and stories cut tragically short by a crisis that continues to challenge us deeply,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“These losses underscore the urgency with which we must continue to respond to this public health emergency. We remember not only those we’ve lost but also their families and friends left to grieve.”

Officials said at least 14,400 people in B.C. have lost their lives to toxic drugs since the public health emergency was declared in April 2016.

“For British Columbians between 10 and 59, unregulated drug toxicity is the leading cause of death, accounting for more deaths than homicides, suicides, accidents and natural disease combined,” said the B.C. government.

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