British Columbia

Illicit overdose deaths in B.C. dropped in January, but risk still 'extreme'

More than seven people died every two days from overdoses last month.

More than seven people died every two days from overdoses: Coroner

Data from the BC Coroners Service shows that 116 people died of an illicit drug overdose in January. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The number of deadly illicit drug overdoses in B.C. went down in January in comparison to the previous two months, but officials say the figures are still too high.

The BC Coroner's Service said Friday that 116 people died of an overdose last month — more than seven deaths every two days.

That follows a record-breaking 142 deaths in December.

More than 90 per cent of January's deadly overdoses happened indoors, although none were at supervised consumption sites.

Sixty per cent of victims were between the ages of 30 and 49 and four in five were men.

The service reiterated that anyone using opiates should never do so alone.

"The continuing high number of deaths shows that the risks remain extreme," said Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe.

On Friday, sources told CBC News that B.C. is signing on to a new health-care deal with the federal government that includes more funding to fight the opiod crisis.

The province has continuously pressed the federal government for help developing strategies to combat the issue.

Last year, more than 900 people in B.C. died from an illicit overdose. In June, Lapointe said overdose deaths had become the leading cause of unnatural death in the province, surpassing motor vehicle crashes.