Health Care

Vancouver Island overdose deaths decline in February, BC Coroners report

Vancouver Island overdose deaths decline in February, BC Coroners report”

The death panel's chairman Michael Egilson says two thirds of the people who died during the review period had a history of being incarcerated.

The panel included 21 experts in health care, policing, corrections, First Nations, education and mental health and addictions.

A Death Review Panel report released on Thursday reviewed all illicit drug overdose deaths in British Columbia over a 19-month period, and makes recommendations to a number of ministries in government and related colleges in the province.

The need to provincially regulate and appropriately oversee treatment and recovery programs and facilities to ensure that they provide evidence-based quality care, and that outcomes are closely monitored and evaluated.

The report recommends the expansion of opioid substitution programs - also known as Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) - and the creation of an accessible provincial drug checking service to allow illicit drug users to check their drugs for fentanyl and other deadly drugs.

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria saw the highest number of deaths.

The panel identified areas of focus to reduce overdose deaths, which includes access to safer drug use, including expanding opioid agonist therapy, services for drug checking and take home naloxone kits and evidence-based treatment and recovery systems.

The BC Coroners Service has released statistics showing that the province recorded a decline in the number of fatal drug overdoses in February compared to the previous month, with the overdose crisis appearing to have largely plateaued in Northern B.C.

So far this year, 228 people have died from an illicit overdose.

The BC Coroners Service also released the latest overdose numbers for February.

A Review of Illicit Drug Overdoses examined all illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C. between January 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017.

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