Substance-related hospitalizations and deaths

Tobacco remains the substance most responsible for both hospitalizations and deaths in British Columbia, but tobacco-related rates for both are dropping while alcohol-related rates of hospitalizations are rising.  Use our interactive AOD (Alcohol and Other Drug) Trend Analyzer tool to create your own data displays for your BC Health Authority or Local Health Area.

A graph of hospitalization rates related to substance use in BC

The rate of tobacco-attributable hospitalizations in BC decreased between 2002 and 2015, whereas the rate of hospitalizations in BC for conditions attributable to alcohol has shown a significant increase during that same time period, reflecting the overall increasing consumption of alcohol in BC. Illicit-drug-related hospitalizations continue to rise, although still make up a small percentage of substance-related hospitalizations in the province.

A graph of mortality rates related to substance use in BC

Mortality rates in BC for tobacco and alcohol-attributable conditions have declined between 2002 and 2014, with the decline in tobacco-related deaths being the most significant. Illicit-drug-attributable deaths in 2014 (the latest year available) are similar to those in 2002 (8.3 people per 100,000 population).

a graph of BC hospitalizations and deaths related to substance use in 2012

Medical conditions attributable to tobacco were the primary contributor to substance related hospitalizations and deaths in BC in 2014. Medical conditions attributable to alcohol contributed to almost as many hospitalizations as tobacco, as well as a significant number of deaths. The impact of illicit drugs, while not insignificant, was considerably less for both hospitalizations and deaths.

For more hospitalization and death data, please visit our interactive Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) trend analyzer tool.

Note: The data in this section is drawn from the hospitalizations and deaths component of the BC alcohol and other drug monitoring project which estimates deaths and hospitalizations related to alcohol, illicit drugs, and tobacco. Such data allows for comparisons of the total burden of deaths and disease attributable to alcohol, illicit drugs and tobacco between regions and over time.