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Carfentanil, an opioid more toxic than fentanyl, linked to more deaths in B.C.: Coroner

Abbotsford News - 5/16/2019

There were 268 fatal overdoses from illicit drugs across B.C. in the first quarter of the year, and a concerning amount of those deaths involved carfentanil – a drug more toxic than fentanyl.

Carfentanil, a powerful opioid used by veterinarians for large animals like elephants, was found in toxicology reports on 64 British Columbians who died between January and March, the BC Coroner Service said Wednesday.

That's compared to 35 deaths linked to the opioid in 2018.

Carfentanil is 100 times more toxic than fentanyl – the illicit street drug that accounts for 80 per cent of the 3,200 overdose deaths that have occurred since 2017.

In March, 104 people fatally overdosed, or roughly three people per day. That is 34% less than the same period in 2018. B.C. also saw a 34 per cent decrease in the number of deaths compared to the same period last year.

The cities experiencing the highest number of overdoses are Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria and Abbotsford.

 
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