British Columbia’s opioid crisis has contributed to declining life expectancy among men for the third straight year. (Black Press Media file photo)

Opioid crisis to blame for shorter life expectancy in B.C. men, says Stats Can

Opioid crisis held responsible for declining life expectancy

The life expectancy for men born in British Columbia has dropped for the third straight year as of 2018 with experts blaming the opioid crisis as the primary factor.

These findings appear in a new report from Statistics Canada tracking male life expectancy at birth in Canada. It shows male life expectancy has stagnated for the third straight year at 79.9. Female life expectancy has increased from 84.0 to 84.1 years.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of this finding in light of larger historical trends. “For males, the stagnation observed in 2016, 2017 and 2018 is the longest on record,” notes the report. “Since Canada started recording information on deaths in 1921, life expectancy has typically increased from one year to the next, both for males and females.”

The epicentre of this national decline is British Columbia, which recorded the highest drop of all provinces in life expectancy at birth with a rate of 0.2 years.

RELATED: VicPD officer saves man overdosing on opioids

RELATED: B.C. opioid overdoses still killing four people a day, health officials say

RELATED: Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

Life expectancy at birth in British Columbia for men has been dropping for three straight years after the province recorded the highest life expectancy of all provinces at 80.5 years in 2015. By 2018, it had dropped to 79.9 years, falling behind men in Quebec (80.9 years) and Ontario (80.3 years).

An analysis of the probabilities of dying by age shows mortality between the ages of 25 and 50 has been rising since 2016.

“It is likely that this increase is related to the opioid crisis, as deaths resulting from opioid intoxication tend to be more common in males of this age group, with British Columbia being more affected than other provinces and territories,” it reads.

The main chemical culprit is the opioid fentanyl. Between 2012 and the first 10 months of 2019, the provincial government recorded what it calls 6,351 illicit drug toxicity deaths. A closer break-down shows that fentanyl played a part in 4,238 of those deaths with fentanyl’s responsibility rapidly rising over time. In 2012, fentanyl played a part in four per cent of all illicit drug deaths. This share had jumped to 29 per cent by 2015, before jumping to 67 per cent in 2016. The fentanyl crisis reached its peak in 2018 when officials detected it in 87 per cent of all illicit drug deaths in British Columbia.

Provincial data also confirms the broader sociological analysis of Statistics Canada. Approximately seventy-seven per cent of individuals who died of an illicit drug overdose in 2019 — some 630 out of 823 individuals — were men.

Of those who died, 71 per cent were aged 30 to 59. If researchers include all individuals aged between 19 and 59, the number rises to 89 per cent. Looking at all age groups between 2009 and 2018, the youngest individual died at the age of 13, the oldest at the age of 76.

Looking at the likelihood of dying of an illicit drug overdose by age group, individuals between the ages of 30 and 39 have the highest rate with 38.2 deaths per 100,000 followed by the age groups of 40 to 49 (33.5 deaths per 100,000) and 50 to 59 (29.5 deaths per 100,000).

In other words, individuals during their prime earning years, but also during arguably the most complex phases of their respective lives, are the most likely to die of an illicit drug overdose, with men much more likely than women.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Hospital chief of staff provides a COVID-19 update; face coverings available for free starting this weekend

Vigilance needed; face coverings soon to be available throughout valley

Invermere mayor says bill payments can wait and asks visitors to please stay home

Al Miller provides an update on the District of Invermere and COVID-19.

Social distancing for wildlife, please

Outdoor photographers urge humans not to get too close to local wildlife.

RCMP and COVID-19 orders

Weekly Columbia Valley RCMP report

DTSS calls for self-isolation yearbook photo submissions

DTSS seeking photos of students doing their favourite self-isolation activities

Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, fear it’s a mistake

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Most Read