The number of deaths from illicit drugs in Langley this year continues to outpace 2019, according to statistics released Tuesday by the BC Coroners Office.
Langley has lost 23 people this year to illicit drug toxicity deaths, part of the ongoing overdose crisis that has seen sharp increases in deaths since 2015. Those numbers, from January to July, are an increase on the 21 deaths in the same period last year, when numbers of deaths had finally begun to decline.
In most years, deaths in Langley ranged between three and 10 per year up to 2016, when the numbers began to rise sharply, hitting a high of 36 deaths in 2017, and 33 the following year.
Around the province 175 people died in July alone this year. There have been more than 900 deaths this year in the province.
The increase in deaths, linked to the toxicity of the supply in street drugs, has caused both B.C. chief medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Premier John Horgan to push for decriminalization of simple drug possession.
More than 80 per cent of the deaths across B.C. were linked to drugs containing fentanyl, a powerful concentrated opioid.
“We continue to see an increase in death due to extreme fentanyl concentration,” B.C. Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said.