Numbers released by the BC Coroners Service Thursday linked 161 fatalities to illicit drug overdoses-a 24 per cent increase over March 2017 and a 58 per cent increase over February of this year.
Last month, a death review panel looking into the overdose crisis called for even more services to check for toxic drugs as well as the expansion of treatment programs.
That's nearly as high as the 162 people who died in December 2016, the highest monthly total since the coroners service began collecting statistics.
More than 1,400 British Columbians died due to suspected illicit drug overdoses in 2017.
It's also a 24 per cent increase compared to March of a year ago and a 58 per cent increase over the 102 people who died in February.
For north Vancouver Island, there have been a total of eight suspected overdose deaths for a rate of 25.7 per 100,000. In 11 of those cases fentanyl was detected. No one has died from an overdose at a supervised consumption site or an overdose prevention site.
For the year to date, 2018 overdoses are close to the record pace of 2017 with 391 deaths through the first three months of data, compared to 400 last year.More news: Arda Turan Receives Record 16-Match Ban for Pushing Linesman
In February, 102 people were suspected to have died from the same cause'.
Of the 22 fatal overdoses so far this year in Northern Health, 20 were recorded as fentanyl-detected overdoses, which works out to 91 percent of deadly overdoses.
The coroner's service replicated its deadline for those taking illegal drugs to not use independently.More news: Many Ohio Valley Voters Stayed Home During Tuesday's Primary