Overdose deaths cut in half in Vernon

In 2019, there were 12 illicit overdose deaths in Vernon, down from last year’s 24

Fatal overdoses in Vernon dropped 50 per cent from last year with a total of 12 recorded fatalities.

Vernon recorded 24 fatalities in both 2017 and ‘18. This drop brings the city back to it’s 2016 record, according to data from BC Coroners Service.

Kelowna has had the highest number of illicit drug overdoses across the Okanagan so for this year, however the number of fatal overdoses is down by nearly 50 per cent compared to last year.

Twenty-seven people died from an overdose in Kelowna between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, down from 2018’s total of 55 deaths for the same period of time.

Meanwhile, Penticton reached a record high with a total of 17 fatal overdoses.

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Across the province, overdose deaths have also dropped from 1,290 fatalities so far this year to 823 as of Oct. 31, 2019.

According to the provincial agency, in October there were a total of 69 deaths, which is a 42 per cent decrease from October 2018, however over dose fatalities increased by 21 per cent compared to September.

Most fatal overdoses occur indoors — 57 per cent in private homes and 29 per cent in other places, including social and supportive housings, shelters and hotels. Only 12 per cent of the 69 fatalities occurred outside on the streets, in vehicles or in parks.

On a positive note, the report stated that no deaths were reported so far this year at any supervised consumption or overdose sites.

Of the 823 deaths in 2019, 193 were female and 630 were men with the largest number of the deaths in the 30-39 age group (227).

Illicit fentanyl and analogues are the top suspects involved in 82 per cent of fatal overdoses, followed up by cocaine (50.1 per cent), methamphetamine (33 per cent), alcohol (27.5 per cent) and heroin (16.2 per cent).

Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria and Abbotsford are experiencing the highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths this year.

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