Kamloops leads BC Interior in overdose deaths | infonews


16 August 2022 – 10:03

Kamloops and Kelowna are the deadliest cities in the interior of British Columbia when it comes to the poisonous illicit drug supply.

So far in 2022, there have been 47 overdose-related deaths in Kamloops and 38 in Kelowna, according to data released by the BC Coroners Service today, August 16.

Only Vancouver, Surrey, Greater Victoria and Abbotsford have recorded more deaths this year. The highest number of deaths was recorded in Vancouver, where 258 lives were lost.

Between January and April of this year, there were 15 overdose deaths in Vernon, 11 in Penticton and four in Merritt.

READ MORE: BC drug deaths top 10,000 since emergency declared in 2016: coroner

In total, the first six months of the year were the deadliest in British Columbia, the statement said, as there were at least 1,095 deaths between January and June.

“The ever-increasing toxicity of the illicit and unregulated drug market is having heartbreaking consequences for the lives and well-being of members of our communities across the province,” Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said in the statement.

“Toxic drug deaths in the first half of 2022 exceeded the number of deaths in the same period of 2021, putting our province, once again, on track for a record loss of life. »

READ MORE: Devastated Kamloops father of fentanyl overdose victim demands change

This year, there have been an average of six deaths per day in the province and more than three-quarters of the victims were men.

“Tragically, in the seventh year of this public health emergency, as we experience an increasing number of deaths in July, our province has now lost more than 10,000 lives to illicit drugs since April 2016,” Lapointe said.

“These were men, women and young people from all walks of life. They lived in our neighborhoods, worked in our workplaces and played on our sports teams. Some were living ordinary lives, while others were doing face enormous challenges the supply of illicit drugs which is ubiquitous.

Lapointe says it is imperative that a more secure supply be offered across British Columbia

“Only when we dramatically reduce people’s reliance on for-profit illicit drug trafficking will we save lives and reverse the course of this crisis.”

The number of overdoses has increased exponentially since the A state of health emergency was declared in 2016.

“Six years ago, nearly 1,000 people in this province died from the illicit drug supply in a single year,” Guy Felicella of the BC Center on Substance Use said in the statement.

“Today the same number of people died in just half the time. The only thing that has really changed is that the supply of unregulated drugs has gotten worse. It has become more dangerous and nothing will change if we don’t ensure that people can get the help they need when they need it – whether it’s a safe supply or treatment and recovery.”

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Betty K. Park