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.
Three of last month's deaths occurred in Northeast B.C., while eight occurred in the Northern Interior, and the Northwest region recorded its first fatal overdose of the year.
In April, the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services recorded the highest number of overdose calls in 17 months.
According to the latest numbers released by the BC Coroners Service Thursday morning, there were 161 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in the province in March, the second highest monthly total to date and significantly more than February's total of 102.
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For 2018, there were 391 deaths in B.C. between January 1 and March 31.
All of the health authorities, except for the Interior, saw an increase in the number of illicit drug deaths in March 2018 compared to February of this year.
Fentanyl has been detected in 83 per cent of post-mortem testing in the 391 deaths this year.
The majority of deaths continue to be young- to middle-aged males who die in their homes or another residence, such as a hotel, motel, rooming house or shelter.
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Despite the efforts, however, overdose deaths in 2018 are on par with record numbers seen a year ago, when 400 people died between January and the end of March.
Most people (90.5 per cent) died indoors, and no deaths were reported at supervised-consumption sites or drug overdose-prevention sites.
The BC Coroners Service urgently reminds those using any illicit drugs not to use alone.
There were 1,448 suspected deaths from illicit drugs in 2017.
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