The latest figures from the BC Coroners Service show fewer people are dying from drug overdoses across B.C., but most fatalities continue to involve fentanyl.
In August, there were 79 suspected drug overdose deaths in B.C. — a 37 per cent decrease from August 2018 and a slight increase from the 70 deaths reported in July of this year.
Through the first eight months of the year, 690 people across the province died of suspected illicit drug overdoses, which is down 13 per cent compared to 1,037 deaths recorded over the same time period last year.
In Kamloops, 24 people have died from suspected drug overdoses between January and August. Five deaths have been recorded since June, when the BC Coroners Service reported 19 suspected fatal drug overdoses to date.
The number of deaths in Kamloops through the first eight months of the year are about half as many as the 46 deaths recorded for all of 2018.
In 2018, there were 46 overdose deaths in the city (the most ever recorded), with 38 deaths in 2017 and 44 deaths in 2016.
In 2015, there were seven overdose deaths in Kamloops.
The number of overdose deaths through the first eight months of the year are the lowest across B.C. since 2016, when 550 deaths were recorded.
The number of deaths over that time period in 2016 was 1,083 deaths and 308 in 2015.
Drug overdose deaths have spiked from yearly totals of 529 in 2015, to 992 in 2016, to 1,495 in 2017 and to 1,541 in 2018.
In 2019, 71 per cent of those dying were between the ages of 30 to 59 and 77 per cent were males.
Individuals aged 19 to 59 years accounted for 89 per cent of all illicit drug deaths to date in 2019.
Fentanyl has detected in more than 85 per cent of illicit drug deaths in 2018 and 2019.
No deaths have been reported at supervised drug-use sites or drug overdose-prevention sites.