Lots Of Fatal Overdoses Involved Mental Illness, Latest Reports Say

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The BC Coroners Service reported that completed investigations of 872 overdose fatalities show more than half of individuals who died had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder or they had evidence of being mentally ill.

These investigations represent a third of the 2,545 overdose deaths in 2016 and 2017, according to the service.

80% people had contact with health services before they passed away

According to chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe said that 80% of the people in the completed investigations had contact with health services in the year before they died.

“We know from speaking with families of those who died that many times families are beside themselves trying to find help for their loved ones and trying to find help perhaps in that window of opportunity where the individual is looking for help or willing to accept help. To date, it’s been very challenging, and it still is in this province for families to find evidence-based recovery,” she said.

There are about 121 deaths from overdoses every month 

She also explained that it’s tragic that British Columbia is still seeing an average of 121 overdose deaths on a monthly basis.

Last week, the Canadian Mental Health Association called on the federal government in order to introduce the so-called mental health parity act which is something similar to legislation in the U.K. to value treatment for mental health equally to physical health.

It was reported that 63% of the deaths have occurred in the people’s homes, but the number surged to 74% in the Fraser Health authority which is the largest of the six health regions that serve the province.

According to the report, most of the people how have died were men between 30 and 49 years old, but women were the ones who were more likely to use injection as a way to consume the drug versus snorting, smoking or ingesting it.


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