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B.C. coroner says fentanyl detected in most of 1,208 deaths up to October

Last Updated Dec 11, 2017 at 2:40 pm EDT

VANCOUVER – Illicit overdoses have claimed 1,208 lives in British Columbia between January and October this year.

The BC Coroners Service 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 but accounted for 83 per cent of the fatalities so far this year.

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