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More people in Kelowna hospitalized for opiate overdoses than any other Canadian city

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September 15, 2017 - 11:30 AM

KELOWNA – A new report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information puts Kelowna way ahead of the rest of the country for opioid-related hospitalizations.

The report, released this week, says 72 people were admitted to Kelowna General Hospital for treatment of overdose in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

That appears to be a small number when compared with Edmonton’s 341 or Vancouver’s 523, but when adjusted for population, the rate of overdoses sent to hospital reached 36.3 per 100,000 people – the highest in the country.

Brantford, Ont. placed second at 30.4.

Across Canada there has been a 19 per cent increase in the overall number of hospitalizations caused by the class of drugs that caused B.C. to declare a public health emergency the spring of 2016.

Western Canadian provinces seem to be struggling more than eastern Canada, despite having fewer cities with enough population to be included in the study.

Vancouver and Victoria’s rate per 100,000 people is right around 20, with Abbotsford-Mission at 29.4. 

President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Health Information David O'Toole says the crisis is getting worse.

“There are more patients being seen in emergency departments, more patients being hospitalized, and the lengths of stay for hospitalizations are quite long — it all adds to the burden," O'Toole says on the organization's website. 

According to statistics from B.C. Emergency Health Services, there were more than 2,200 911 calls for overdoses between January 2016 and April 2017 in Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon.

Image Credit: The Canadian Institute for Health Information

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