Kamloops on pace for record number of overdose deaths

Kamloops on pace for record number of overdose deaths

The Northern Interior now has the second-highest rate of fatal drug overdoses of any region in the province, with 45.8 deaths per 100,000 residents.

2018 is well on pace to break the record 103 overdose deaths in the area a year ago, which had a rate of 26.6 deaths per 100,000.

Data out Thursday says there were 161 suspected overdose deaths in March, just one shy of the highest monthly total recorded in December of 2016.

After recording nine deaths in the first two months of the year, Northern Health recorded 13 deaths in March alone, bringing the yearly total to 22.

That's a 58 percent increase compared to the 102 deaths that occurred in February, and a 24 percent increase over the number of fatalities in March 2017.

Preliminary statistics show the effective painkiller fentanyl was discovered in 83 percent of those deaths from the first 3 months of the season.

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Despite efforts by government and health officials to increase harm reduction methods - such as free opioid-reversing nalaxone kits, safe consumption sites and fentanyl test strips - concerning trends have continued to plague all corners of the province.

The majority of decedents died indoors (90.5%).

For the year to date, 2018 overdoses are close to the record pace of 2017 with 391 deaths through the first three months of data, compared to 400 last year.

For 2018, there were 391 deaths in B.C. between January 1 and March 31.

The coroner's service replicated its deadline for those taking illegal drugs to not use independently.

People aged 19 to 39 makeup the largest demographic of British Columbians dying from overdose deaths - or 188 people.

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