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Illicit drug deaths in B.C decrease in the first five months of 2019

Last Updated Jul 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm PDT

The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Philadelphia. Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada locations across the country are getting a free supply of an opioid overdose-reversing drug. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Rourke

The number of illicit drug-related deaths for the first five months of 2019 show a year-over-year decrease

Overall, there have been 462 illicit drug deaths in 2019, down 30 per cent when compared to the same period last year

While the data is subject to change and totals for 2019 will likely increase, it's a sign for "cautious optimism"

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Illicit drug deaths are down for the first five months of this year.

That’s according to the Coroners Service as it provides updated numbers on the overdose crisis.

It’s a year-over-year decrease, with 86 and 84 illicit drug related deaths in April and May this year, down from 137 and 116 when compared to the same time in 2018.

462 people died up until the end of May, that’s down 30 percent from the same period last year.

But totals for 2019 will likely increase as test results are received, but the drop is being called a “sign of cautious optimism”.

Findings of the drug death reports also show the monthly average for illicit drug deaths for the first five months of 2019 are down one-third compared to 2018, and more than two-thirds of illicit drug deaths involved people aged 30 to 59 years old, with 80 percent of the deaths involving men.