More than 100 people died of overdoses in Surrey in 2019. (Photo: Paul Henderson)

In 2019, roughly one person died every three days in Surrey due to illicit drug overdoses

123 people died in the city in 2019, down from the previous year

More than 100 people died in Surrey in 2019 due to illicit drug overdoses.

In total, 123 people died last year, according to figures released by the BC Coroners Service Monday (Feb. 24).

That works out to roughly one person dying due to an illicit drug overdose in Surrey every three days.

READ ALSO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%, Feb. 24, 2020

In the province, 981 people died as a result of overdoses in 2019. The BC Coroners Service said that it was a 38-per-cent decrease from 2018.

That’s still nearly three people dying each day due to overdoses.

The coroners service said there was at least one illicit drug death in 330 of the 365 days in 2019

The numbers, both in Surrey and provincially, are down from 2018.

That year, 213 people died in Surrey and 1,542 people died throughout the province.

READ ALSO: Roughly one person died every two days from drug overdoses in Surrey, Feb. 7, 2019

READ ALSO: Overdose deaths down in Surrey, but more than two people are still dying a week, Oct. 19, 2019

However, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said the fatal overdose numbers in 2019 were similar in number to 2016, the year the crisis began. The crisis has killed more than 5,000 people since 2016, the majority of them being men. In 2019, 747 men died compared to 234 women.

“One thing those people had in common was that they were people,” Lapointe said. “They were loved. They had hopes and dreams and challenges.”

Surrey had the second-highest number of fatal drug overdoses in 2019. Vancouver had the most at 245.

In 2019, 87 per cent of overdoses happened inside, with 57 per cent in private residences and 30 per cent in other residences, such as social and supportive housing, shelters and hotels. Twelve per cent happened outside in vehicles, on sidewalks, streets and parks.

The coroners service says no deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.

Fentanyl, according to the figures, was detected in 84 per cent of overdoses, down from 87 per cent in 2018. Carfentanil, however, was detected in 130 deaths in 2019, up from 35 in 2018.

– With files from Katya Slepian



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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