Recent data released by Statistics Canada on Thursday paints a grim reality of Canadians dying from alcohol and drug abuse during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A record number of people died from alcohol-induced deaths over the past few years. In 2020 there were 3,790 reports of alcohol-related deaths and by 2021 that number had grown to 3,875.
“Alcohol-induced mortality also increased significantly throughout the pandemic,” wrote analysts.
“The 18% increase from 2019 to 2020 was the largest year-over-year change in alcohol-induced deaths seen in at least the last 20 years.”
Those under the age of 65 were the hardest hit by alcohol abuse, as deaths increased by 27% from 2019 to 2020.
Alcohol-induced mortality statistics include death by liver disease, accidental poisoning, intentional self-poisoning, pancreatitis, gastritis and other related conditions.
Deaths via unintentional poisonings by noxious substances like illegal drugs or prescription medicines have also spiked over the course of the pandemic.
A total of 4,605 people died from accidental poisonings in 2020 and the following year the number grew to 6,310.
Recent statistics out of British Columbia related to deaths by overdoses due to illicit drugs paint a harrowing picture of the province’s struggles with opioid addiction.
Over 1,600 people died from illicit drug use in the first nine months of 2022 according to BC’s Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“British Columbians are continuing to suffer the tragic effects of a toxic and volatile drug supply, with almost six members of our communities dying each day,” said the province’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe.
The presence of fentanyl and the even more lethal carfentanil in the drug supply are the biggest culprits when it comes to accidental overdoses.