488 overdose deaths in B.C. so far this year, coroners service says

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VANCOUVER—British Columbia’s coroners service says there were 136 suspected overdose deaths in the province in April.

That amounts to almost double the number of deaths compared to the same month last year.

The newest data bring the total number of overdose deaths in B.C. to 488 in the first four months of 2017.

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Men account for over 80 per cent of the deaths so far this year, and the majority were aged 19 to 59.

Vancouver had the highest number of fatalities of any municipality, with 144 overdoses, followed by 51 in Surrey and 37 in Victoria.

Overdose deaths have been largely attributed to the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which was connected to nearly 45 per cent of drug deaths between 2015 and 2016.