Over 500 people have died of overdoses in Surrey since 2016. (Photo: Paul Henderson)

Surrey’s overdose death toll this year already exceeds 2019 total

In eight months, there have been 130 fatalities

Eight months into 2020, Surrey has surpassed the total number of overdose deaths from the year prior.

Since the start of the year, there have been 130 fatal overdoses in the city, according to data released by the BC Coroners Service Wednesday (Sept. 23).

That’s compared to the 119 in 2019, which was down from the 214 in 2018 numbers.

READ ALSO: In 2019, roughly one person died every three days in Surrey due to illicit drug overdoses, Feb. 25, 2020

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Overdose fatalities by municipality, according to data released by the BC Coroners Service on Sept. 23, 2020.

Surrey’s total fatal overdoses are only surpassed by Vancouver, which has seen 259 in the last eight months.

Provincewide, overdose deaths have also exceeded the 2019 death toll. B.C.’s eight-month total is 1,068.

READ ALSO: First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll, Sept. 23, 2020

In 2019, 983 people died – a majority, or due to illicit fentanyl, a powerful street-level opioid.

Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria are the three municipalities in the province experiencing the highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths in 2020.

There were 16 overdose deaths in Surrey in August. That’s roughly one fatality every two days.

There were 147 throughout B.C., which is roughly five deaths per day.

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Overdose deaths broken down monthly, by health authority and some municipalitie, in data released by the BC Coroners Service on Sept. 23, 2020.

The new death toll comes just a week after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued an order allowing registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses to prescribe safer drugs as a way to curb the use of illicit drugs.

READ ALSO: Some B.C. nurses given green light to prescribe safe drugs amid overdose spike, Sept. 16, 2020

– With files from Ashley Wadhwani



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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