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(LifeSiteNews) – Canadian deaths from substance abuse reached record highs during the COVID lockdowns.

Statistics Canada has released information on provisional death counts and excess mortality for the period of January 2020 to October 2022, a time of draconian restrictions enacted in Canadian provinces.

The report shows that in 2020 3,790 deaths due to alcohol related issues were reported, and that number grew to 3,875 by 2021.

These numbers represent a significant increase from 2019, for which 3,200 alcohol-induced deaths were recorded.

The increase in deaths caused by alcohol represents an almost 20 per cent rise in such deaths, the “largest year-over-year change in alcohol-induced deaths seen in at least the last 20 years.”

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Notably, the report shows that those at the least risk for COVID related complications – those aged younger than 65 years – accounted for most of the rise in alcohol-induced deaths.

In the under-65 cohort, the increase in deaths was almost 30 per cent; there was a less than five per cent increase in the over-65 group.

Deaths caused by unintentional poisonings from toxic substances like illegal drugs and prescription drugs also spiked during the lockdown period.

The number of people died under such circumstances increased by almost 2,000 during that period. A total of 4,605 people died from accidental poisonings in 2020 and the following year the number grew to 6,310.

The province of British Columbia seems to be the hardest hit by the rise in substance-abuse deaths.

According to stats from the province, in the first nine months of 2022, over 1,600 people died from illicit drug-abuse, whereas fewer than 1000 COVID-associated deaths were recorded in a similar period.