Fraser Health report offers updated snapshot of overdose crisis

New numbers from Fraser Health are providing an updated snapshot of the effects of the overdose crisis south of the Fraser.  The data, contained in the 2017 Chief Medical Health Officer’s Report, offers an image of the demographic hardest hit by the drug epidemic.

Fraser Health found that 85% of people who die of overdoses in the health region are men, the majority of them between the ages of 30 and 39.

Drilling deeper into that profile, the authority tracked a group of 90 men who had been admitted to hospital after an overdose, and found that most were, or had been, employed in the building trades, and many had histories of injury and pain management. Eight out of 10 of them had been admitted to the hospital at least once in the previous year.

“A lot of these men are treating pain, opioids are used for the treatment of pain and people get addicted,” said board chair Jim Sinclair.

70% of overdoses tracked by the health authority occurred inside a private residence — a trend that echoes data found by the BC Coroners Service.

The report also found First Nations people in the region are being disproportionately impacted by the drug crisis. It found they were five times more likely to have an overdose, and three times more likely to die of one.

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