Okanagan has already surpassed number of overdoses in all of 2016 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan has already surpassed number of overdoses in all of 2016

Naloxone with needle and kit in background.
December 11, 2017 - 1:30 PM

Fentanyl has claimed more than 100 lives in the Okanagan so far this year.

The latest figures from the B.C. Coroners Service show 109 fentanyl-detected deaths in the Okanagan from January to the end of October. The number has already surpassed the total for all of 2016, which was 62. Counting other types of illicit drugs like cocaine, meth and heroin, the death toll is slightly higher, at 126, in the Okanagan as of Oct. 31.

Across B.C., there were 999 overdose deaths involving fentanyl — a 136 per cent increase over the same time last year.

A new trend is that the drug carfentanil was detected in 48 deaths across the province this year. Drug testing confirmed carfentanil was in the Interior Health Authority region earlier this year. 

The Okanagan health service area had the third highest number of fentanyl-related deaths after Fraser South, with 161, and Vancouver, with 239. Within the Okanagan, 58 people died of fentanyl-related overdoses in Kelowna and 29 in Kamloops. Figures for Vernon and Penticton are not available.

Overall, the number of overdose related deaths including fentanyl as well as other types of illicit drugs was sitting at 1,208 as of Oct. 31.

In the Interior Health Authority region specifically, there were 364 drug overdose deaths recorded in 2017, including 14 in the month of October. The worst month this year in the Interior was July, when 27 deaths were recorded.

Vernon and Kelowna have already seen more overall drug overdose deaths this year than in all of 2016. Vernon is at 17, up from 12 in 2016 and Kelowna at 66 up from 47. Kamloops is likely on track to follow the same trend; it’s had 37 deaths so far this year, compared to 43 in all of 2016.

Read more about the fentanyl situation here. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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