Death race continues as overdoses climb again within Interior Health - InfoNews

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Death race continues as overdoses climb again within Interior Health

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August 18, 2016 - 12:42 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Kelowna has caught up to Kamloops in a grim measure, that of overdose deaths for 2016.

Kelowna has now registered 23 overdose deaths this year compared to 22 for Kamloops, according to a press release from the B.C. Coroners Service. The smaller centre had posted 22 deaths to the end of June, a number that’s unchanged this month.

The Interior Health Authority has reported 71 overdose deaths to the end of July, well over the 62 it recorded all of last year. Live overdoses are not recorded by the coroner service.

Like the rest of the province, the Interior Health Authority has been fighting a surge in overdose deaths, largely for opiod drug use and increasingly connected to the drug fentanyl.

The synthetic opiod has been held at least partially responsible for 62 per cent of the overdose deaths across the province. Within the health authority, 37 deaths have been connected in whole or part to fentanyl in 2016.

The provincial medical health officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the soaring number of overdose deaths a public health emergency and immediately ordered a detailed surveillance of all overdoses in emergency rooms across the province.

The Interior Health Authority has responded by flooding the market with naloxone kits, the opiod overdose-reversing drug that can save an overdose victim long enough for medical intervention

As well, the public health division is actively pursuing the creation of safe consumption services for Kelowna and Kamloops, although its still not guaranteed the service will go ahead.

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