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A firefighter taking a patient's blood pressure

Seven suspected overdose deaths in Vancouver during the week of September 10

Week-over-week increase in the number of people dying from an overdose continues

September 24 2018 –

Last week, seven people died of suspected overdose. An estimated 265 people have lost their lives to an overdose in Vancouver in 2018 - already on par with 2017 figures, which saw 266 people lose their lives between January and the end of August.

Warning from Vancouver Coastal Health

VCH issued a warning to users in August that carfentanil was detected through drug-checking initiatives, and continues to monitor the level of fentanyl and carfentanil in the street drug supply.

Improving access to treatment and reducing stigma

With the crisis showing no sign of slowing down, the City welcomes this month's agreement by the federal and provincial governments to invest more than $70 million to improve and increase access to quality treatment services for substance use disorder.

We are committed to continuing to work with partners to reduce stigma around drug use, helping society understand that addiction is a public health issue, while addressing the root causes of substance use such as trauma and mental health issues.

By reducing stigma, people are less likely to use drugs where there is no one around to help - reports show that the majority of overdose deaths occur inside, when people are alone.

Anniversay of Insite

Friday was the 15th anniversary of Insite, Vancouver's first supervised consumption site.

While various harm reduction efforts have been, and continue to be, hugely successful in saving lives, the situation will only really improve with:

  • intensified efforts on expanded outreach and harm reduction
  • a clean drug supply
  • a diversity of longer-term treatment options
  • access to other social services

See what we are doing to respond to the crisis.

BC Coroners Service

Toxicology reports on the most recent deaths are not yet complete, and final overdose death numbers need to be confirmed by the BC Coroners Service.

Read the BC Coroners Services' report on Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC, January 1, 2007 to July 31, 2018 PDF file (583 KB) External website