Interior Health has second-highest rate of overdose deaths in 2020 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Interior Health has second-highest rate of overdose deaths in 2020

B.C.’s other health crisis appears to be making a comeback as illicit drug overdose deaths unexpectedly spiked in March.

The overdose crisis appeared to be waning in 2019 with a sharp drop in deaths from its peak in 2018, but according to the B.C. Coroners Service, March returned to near-peak levels right across the province.

The coroners service recorded 113 illicit drug deaths in B.C. in March, passing the 100 per month mark for the first time since March 2019, and while March 2020 is down three per cent from the same period a year ago, it’s up 60 per cent from February, 2020.

READ MORE: Overdose deaths in B.C. jumped in March from February: coroner

The Interior Health region has the second-highest rate of illicit drug-related overdose deaths based on population compared to other health authorities at 23 deaths per 100,000 population.

The main culprit remains fentanyl, which was present in nearly 70 per cent of overdose deaths this year, although down from previous years. Once again, men were predominantly affected with 76 per cent of overdose deaths among males, which has been consistent with recent years.

There are no deaths recorded at a safe injection site.

To view the full report, visit the provincial government’s website here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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