22 Canadians die each day to drug poisoning, says new data

drug overdoses

A mural found in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in 2016, the year B.C. declared a state of emergency over drug overdoses. Photo: APTN.

New data from the Advisory Committee on Drug Poisoning in Canada shows the number of people dying from opioid-related deaths is staying at levels similar to what was seen during the pandemic.

“Opioid-related deaths and harms rose dramatically in 2020, and have been high since then,” said a release from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). “Since 2016, there have been 44,592 opioid-related deaths.

“From January to December 2023, there were a total of 8,049 opioid-related deaths in Canada, which represents an average of 22 lives lost every day.”

The number of deaths is seven per cent higher than in 2022.

According to PHAC, 87 per cent of “opioid toxicity deaths” occurred in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, and 72 per cent of “accidental apparent opioid toxicity deaths” were males between the ages of 30 and 39 in 2023. Males in that age range had the most hospitalizations – 64 per cent – related to opioid poisonings.

The information from PHAC said 82 per cent of opioid deaths involved fentanyl, a powerful pain reliever.

“Opioid-related deaths may remain high or increase through to December 2024,” PHAC added.

“Of stimulant-related poisoning emergency department visits in 2023, 35% involved co-poisoning with opioids and 19% with fentanyl or fentanyl analogues.”

Contribute Button