Another 109 people died in B.C. after taking illicit drugs in May of this year. It brings the total for the first five months of 2018 up to 620, according to the B.C. Coroners Service's latest monthly report on overdose deaths.
That compares to 1,449 fatal overdoses during all of 2017, 995 the year before that, and 525 in 2015.
One hundred and nine people dead in May continues what some health-care officials have privately taken to calling "the new normal." The term describes about 100 fatal overdoses each month, an average that B.C. has exceeded since a sharp jump in fatal overdoses occurred in November 2016.
In September 2016, there were 63 overdose deaths in B.C. Then 78 in October, and then 141 in November and 161 in December.
The average number of overdose deaths in B.C. each month from November 2016 to May 2018 is 124.8.
That compares to a monthly average of 82.8 in 2015, 41.2 in 2014, and an average of 30.6 overdose deaths each month in B.C. in 2014.
Adjusted for population, the city of Vancouver's rate of overdose deaths remains one of the highest of any city in North America. So far in 2018, rate of fatal overdoses in Vancouver stands at 57.8 deaths per 100,000 people.
The synthetic opioid fentanyl was associated with 83 percent of fatal overdoses during the first three months of 2018, down slightly from 84 percent of deaths in B.C. the previous year.