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Another six lives in Burnaby lost to illicit drugs during August

"People in communities across B.C. are continuing to lose friends, family members and colleagues to the unprecedented toxicity of the unregulated drug supply."
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B.C.'s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe.

Burnaby's illicit drug death total during 2022 has once again tragically risen. 

The latest B.C. Coroners Service report shows another six lives were lost during August, bringing its year to date total to 44. 

In all of 2021, a record 77 deaths were tallied in Burnaby. 

Provincially, toxic illicit drugs claimed 162 lives in August, which represents a 12 per cent drop in deaths compared to July of this year (193). Nearly 1.450 (1,468) people have died in 2022, which is a record for the first eight months of a calendar year. 

The number of illicit drug toxicity deaths in August equates to roughly 5.5 deaths per day. 

"The illicit drug market continues to pose immense risks to people across our province," B.C. chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a news release. 

"People in communities across B.C. are continuing to lose friends, family members and colleagues to the unprecedented toxicity of the unregulated drug supply. I extend my sincere condolences to all of those grieving the loss of a loved one."

By local health area, Lillooet, Cowichan Valley West, Terrace, Alberni/Clayoquot and Merritt. 

No deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites. 

"In August, we lost 169 people to the poisoned drug supply. These are devastating losses for families, friends, communities and loved ones. My heart is with everyone who had such a tragic loss," Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson said in a statement. 

"We are working hard to build a system of mental-health and substance-use care where there wasn't one five years ago. We are offering innovative harm-reduction solutions, like prescribed safe supply - the only province in Canada to do so - and are adding new treatment beds and recovery services throughout B.C.

"We are also the only province in Canada to decriminalize people who use drugs, so that we can remove the stigma and shame associated with substance use. We agree addiction is a health-care issue, not a criminal one."

The townships experiencing the highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths this year are Vancouver, Surrey and Greater Victoria. 

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