Illicit overdose deaths up last year in Kamloops, slight dip in Okanagan - InfoNews

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Illicit overdose deaths up last year in Kamloops, slight dip in Okanagan

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February 07, 2019 - 2:27 PM

The Okanagan maintained its dubious distinction as having one of the highest illicit drug overdose death rates in the province for 2018, despite lowering the number from 2017.

The B.C. Coroners Service report on overdose deaths broke down statistics for every township and region in the province.

The Okanagan has an overdose death rate of 33.2 people per 100,000, down significantly from 41.6 in 2017, although still one of the highest in B.C. Only Vancouver, Northern Interior and Thompson Cariboo have higher rates.

The Okanagan saw 125 illicit drug overdose-related deaths in 2018, down somewhat from 155 in 2017. According to the Coroner Services, 88 of those deaths were connected with fentanyl, down from 132 in 2017.

Kelowna's total number of overdose deaths went down from 75 in 2017 to 55 in 2018, although it still had the fourth-largest number of overdose fatalities in the province, just behind Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria.

There were 48 overdose deaths in Kamloops in 2018, growing from 38 in 2017. Vernon remained largely unchanged, going from 23 deaths in 2017 to 24 in 2018.

Looking at the big picture, the Interior as a whole suffered 232 overdose deaths last year, down slightly from 244 in 2017. More than 68 per cent of overdose deaths in the Interior happened in private residences.

Province-wide, illicit overdose deaths increased to 1,489 in 2018, slightly higher than the 1,486 deaths recorded in 2017.

- The headline on this story was corrected at 6:23 p.m. Feb. 7, 2019 to better reflect the content of the story.


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