At least 2,458 Canadians died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016: report
At least 2,458 Canadians died from apparent opioid-related overdoses in 2016, the Public Health Agency of Canada says.
That amounts to seven people a day dying from opioid use, the agency said Tuesday on behalf of the federal, provincial, territorial Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses.
In April, the committee agreed to define apparent opioid-related death as one caused by intoxication or poisoning as a result of drug use, when one of the drugs is an opioid.
On Monday, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson called fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the city a “bloodbath” with no end in sight. Fentanyl is an especially powerful opioid.
Western Canada experienced the highest rates, with apparent opioid-related death rates of over 10 per 100,000 population for Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alberta, according to the new report.
Nationally, the apparent opioid-related death rate in Canada was 8.8 per 100,000 population, without adjusting for age.
In comparison, cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, with an estimated 78,800 Canadians are expected to die from cancer every year, about 30 per cent of all deaths in the country. In 2012, the age-standardized mortality rate from cancer was 296 cases per 100,000 population.
The agency said information on opioid deaths from Quebec is not currently available.
Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador reported 2015 deaths.