B.C. Coroners Service says fentanyl detected in most of the 1,208 overdose deaths so far this year

The B.C. Coroners Service says fentanyl was found in approximately 83 per cent of overdose deaths so far this year.

The opioid was found in 999 of confirmed and suspected overdose deaths

The B.C. Coroners Service says drug overdose deaths are by nearly 50 per cent this year over last. (Chris Corday/CBC)

Illicit overdoses claimed 1,208 lives in British Columbia between January and October of this year, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.

It says the latest figure compares with 683 deaths during the same period last year.

The service says fentanyl was detected in 999 of the confirmed and suspected deaths so far in 2017, an increase of 136 per cent from the same period last year.

It says the presence of fentanyl, an opioid painkiller, alone or in combination with other drugs, has steadily increased among those who have fatally overdosed.

In 2012, fentanyl was found in four per cent of deaths. This year, that number is 83 per cent.

Most of the deaths have occurred in Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.