VICTORIA -- British Columbia's coroners service says 134 people died of illicit-drug overdoses in July, a 25 per cent increase from June.

The latest fatalities are the second-highest figures of any month so far this year, after an all-time monthly high of 162 deaths in March.

The service says about four people fatally overdose every day in the province, which leads the country in illicit-drug deaths.

Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria experienced the highest number of overdoses last month.

Figures from the coroners service show that compared with the latest monthly deaths, 24 fatalities were recorded in July 2008, the highest of any month that year.

The coroner service says most of the victims so far this year were men between the ages of 30 and 59.