THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Overdose deaths in the Interior Health Authority, already at a record number after a 30 per cent jump last year, are on pace to smash that record yet again.
B.C. Coroners Service numbers show 27 overdose deaths from illicit drugs in the first two months of 2016, nearly half the 60 recorded in the health authority for all last year.
The provincial government also appears ready to do something more substantial about the issue. Tomorrow, Health Minister Terry Lake and provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall are scheduled to make an announcement for "action to respond to the crisis of overdose deaths in British Columbia."
If the families of victims don't say enough, the statistics just might. In January, the coroners service said B.C. had 76 overdose deaths, the largest single month ever. In March, senior medical health officer Dr. Trevor Corneil said there were 15 unconfirmed overdose deaths within the health authority in January.
Coroner Barb McLintock said new numbers on overdose deaths, possibly including data from the last six weeks, would be available tomorrow, April 14.
Last year, a record 474 people died from illicit drug overdoses, a 30 per cent increase from the year before.
Fentanyl, a powerful opioid, many times stronger than heroin, was detected in approximately 31 per cent of those deaths, the coroner says.
In the Okanagan, Kelowna saw a 40 per cent increase in overdose deaths while Vernon saw a 50 per cent increase in 2015.
Find past stories on overdoses here.
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