Published: Fri, April 06, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Death Review Panel on overdoses releases recommendations

Death Review Panel on overdoses releases recommendations

The death panel's chairman Michael Egilson says two thirds of the people who died during the review period had a history of being incarcerated.

The report by the B.C. Coroners Service Death Review Panel recommended inmates leaving the correctional system have access to the same treatment services after their release that they had on the inside.

The recommendations are from a 19-month review period when overdose deaths skyrocketed, claiming 1,854 lives.

The Death Review Panel report makes recommendations aimed at helping to curb the trend of illicit drug overdose deaths in the province.

The first is to bring in new regulations to ensure that treatment and recovery programs provide evidence-based care and that the outcomes are closely monitored and evaluated.

Island Health has reported 45 deaths through the end of February, with 20 recorded in Victoria.

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- About two-thirds of people dying from all illicit drug overdoses between January 2016 and July 2017 had B.C. Corrections involvement at some time in their lives, or were now under B.C. Corrections supervision.

After a 10-year-high of 1,446 deaths from illicit drugs in 2017, there have been 228 reported in the province this year which on pace for 1,368 overdose deaths by the end of the year.

The average number of illicit drug overdose deaths in February was 3.6 per day. Those numbers reflect a slow decline in overdose deaths which began in the fall, said Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe.

The need to improve safer drug-use, through the creation of accessible provicial drug checking services using validated technologies.

It found there were 102 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in February, a 16 per cent decrease over the the number of deaths in February 2017 and a 19 per cent decrease over the number of deaths occurring in January 2018 (126).

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