178 Fraser Valley residents died from toxic drugs so far this year

The number of overdose deaths in 2021 is expected to exceed the combined total for the first five years of he decade

By Grace Kennedy | December 9, 2021 |11:39 am

The toxic drug crisis has had a profound impact on many people in the Fraser Valley. If you have lost a loved one due to drug-related harms, the BC Substance Use Centre has a handbook that can help you navigate your grief and loss. If you are experiencing a crisis, you call call BC’s crisis centre at 310-6789. If you use drugs, download the Lifeguard app, which will alert a trusted person if you overdose.

Naloxone is available for everyone and can help reverse opioid overdoses. Our August story can help you learn how to use the life-saving kit.


Toxic drugs have killed 178 people—enough to more than fill two school buses—in the Fraser Valley during just the first 10 months of 2021. The staggering toll was revealed yesterday. With no sign of the end of the drug crisis, the number of people killed across the valley can be expected to exceed 200 by the end of the year, far exceeding the previous high of 162. Since an emergency was declared in 2016, the number of people dying has only increased. In 2021, more people will die from toxic drugs in the valley than in the first five years of the decade combined.


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The valley (Langley/Mission to Hope) now has one of the highest death rates in the province. And provincewide, October had the highest number of drug-related deaths ever recorded in a single month: 201. Nearly all of these deaths occurred inside, with half taking place in people’s homes.

Toxic drugs are now by far the most common cause of death for British Columbians aged 19-39, and the second-most common cause (only slightly behind cancer) for those aged 40 to 59.

Last year, which did not see nearly as many deaths as this year, the number of illicit drug related deaths was nearly three times higher than the number of suicides and eight times higher than the number of car crash deaths. “This is a health crisis,” BC’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said.

“I cannot stress enough how urgent this emergency has become. A comprehensive plan to ensure access to safe supply for the thousands of B.C. residents dependent on these substances is essential. Shifting from a punishment and stigmatizing regime to a decriminalized, health-focused model is also a critical step to reduce suffering and save lives.”

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Grace Kennedy

Reporter at Fraser Valley Current

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