Fentanyl pills appear to be playing a central role in the increase of drug-related fatalities. (Photo: The Associated Press)"The numbers are continuing to be extremely high," Lake said. "We're on track for a record year."
Number of deaths increasing despite emergency declarationBut the number of deaths has continued to grow, despite increased outreach initiatives, aggressive awareness campaigns and the rapid distribution of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. "With the declaration of the public-health emergency, with increased availability of naloxone (and) with the increased number of first responders available to administer it, I'm hopeful that this month we'll start to see those numbers come down," said Lake. "But it really is something that we have to continue to talk about, to make sure people are very aware." B.C.'s medical health officer Perry Kendall said he wasn't surprised by the update. "(Overdose deaths) haven't gone down yet, but I didn't really think that they would have," he said on Thursday. "This obviously means we need to work on them." Kendall predicted last month that if the number of fatalities continued to rise at this rate, the total could exceed 800 by year's end. The Fraser Valley region leads the province with a total of 76 overdose deaths in the first four months of 2016. That's followed by 66 deaths in Metro Vancouver and 54 on Vancouver Island. There have been 45 overdose fatalities in the Interior and 15 in Northern B.C.
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