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16 lives in Burnaby lost to illicit drugs during first quarter of 2024

"Each of these lives matters," said Jennifer Whiteside, B.C. minister of mental health and addictions.
The BC Coroners Service says 16 lives in Burnaby have been lost to illicit drugs in 2024.

New data from the BC Coroners Service shows Burnaby saw 16 deaths by illicit drugs between January and April this year. 

In April, provincially, the Coroners Service said 182 deaths were recorded. 

"Each of these lives matters. There are not enough words to bring comfort to those who are grieving and to everyone in every corner of our province and across the country who has experienced a preventable loss of a loved one due to toxic drugs," Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jennifer Whiteside said in a news release. 

"We are continuing to work urgently to save lives and connect people to care that meets their needs. When someone makes the brave decision to seek treatment, they need immediate, connected supports. Waiting for services can be deadly for someone with addiction challenges." 

The Fraser Health Authority, which includes Burnaby, has recorded 201 deaths to date, second behind Vancouver Coastal Health which has seen 203 lives lost. 

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria experienced the most loss of life in April. 

"We're taking action to build up services that we know work for people and we'll continue to look for more ways to connect people to the care they need. Because for as many pathways as there are into addiction, we need just as many pathways toward healing and recovery," Whiteside added. 

The Coroners Service added fentanyl continues to be the most detected substance in illicit drug deaths with an 82 per cent rate. 

"Coroner investigations confirm that substances were consumed through smoking in nearly three-quarters of the deaths in April."