On Dec. 15, the Yukon’s chief coroner confirmed in a news release that illicit drugs have claimed the lives of 25 Yukoners since Jan. 1.
This figure now matches the total number of illicit drug poisonings from 2021. The Yukon has now recorded 76 opioid-related deaths since April of 2016.
The drugs taking the lives of Yukoners contain different combinations of cocaine, opioids and benzodiazepines. For the first time, the release also notes that alcohol is found to be a common contributor in many cases.
The report detailed the composition of the illicit substances found by investigations in 2021 and 2022 as follows. Results are still pending in one case.
20 out of 25 fatalities involved opioids, and 19 found fentanyl present.
Cocaine was involved in 14 cases.
Benzodiazepines were confirmed in six cases.
Cocaine use was confirmed in five cases which did not involve opioids.
Alcohol was found to be a factor in at least seven cases.
24 out of 25 fatalities involved opioids, and all found fentanyl present.
Cocaine was involved in 16 cases.
Benzodiazepines were confirmed in five cases.
Alcohol was found to be a factor in 11 cases.
Carfentanil was present in two cases.
The coroner’s office has not yet provided information on the characteristics of the people who died, whether they lived in Whitehorse, if they were male or female or any information about their age range.
The Yukon Coroner’s Service urges caution to anyone who might be or might consider using toxic illicit drugs. Heather Jones, the chief coroner, and those in her office send their deepest condolences to all the families and communities who are impacted by these deaths.
To learn more about supports and services available in the Yukon, please visit Yukon.ca/mental-wellness or SubstanceUseServices.ca. Never use alone. Phone the National Opioid Response Service (NORS) at 1-888-688-6677 to talk to someone.
Contact Lawrie Crawford at email@example.com