VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s coroners service says fewer people fatally overdosed on illicit drugs in January but the number of deaths believed to have been caused by carfentanil more than quadrupled in just one month.
The service says 90 people died of suspected drug overdoses in the first month of 2019, a drop of 22 per cent compared with 116 deaths in December.
However, it says carfentanil was responsible for 13 of the deaths in January, up from three fatalities a month earlier.
The synthetic opioid is believed to be 100 times more toxic than fentanyl and was detected in 35 suspected illicit-drug deaths in all of 2018.
It is used as a sedative for large animals, such as elephants, and can be deadly for humans in extremely small amounts.
The coroners service says fentanyl was detected in 68 of the 90 deaths in January.
The Canadian Press