Overdose deaths continue to rise in Kamloops and across B.C.

Forty-three people died of drug overdoses in Kamloops between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, according to figures released by the BC Coroners Service. Provincially, more than 1,200 people have died.

Kamloops will likely record a record number of illicit drug deaths in 2020, with an average of one person dying of overdose every 6.3 days.

Forty-three people died of drug overdoses in Kamloops between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, according to figures released on Tuesday (Oct. 20) by the BC Coroners Service — up from 25 in all of 2019 and nearing a high of 46, recorded in 2018.

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Across B.C., more than 1,200 people have died of drug overdose through the end of September. That number is up significantly from 981 in all of 2019, but still below the record mark of 1,547, set in 2018.

Provincially, 127 people died of drug overdoses in September, down from 150 in August, 178 in July and 183 in June — which was an all-time monthly high for the province.

Prior to the opioid crisis hitting B.C. in 2015, Kamloops routinely recorded between two and 10 overdoses in an entire year, while the province would typically see between 200 and 350 such deaths annually.

So far in 2020, B.C. is recording an average of 4.2 illicit drug deaths per day, according to the coroners service. Seventy per cent of those who have died are between 30 and 59 years of age and the overwhelming majority — 80 per cent — have been men.

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria account for the most overdose deaths so far in 2020.

Fentanyl continues to be the drug most associated with the deaths.

Monthly overdose deaths across B.C. have trended downward the last three months of 2020 from a high of 183 in June, but are still much higher than in 2019 and more in line with 2018. In September there were 127 overdose deaths down from 150 in August and 178 in July. From June to September 2019, overdose deaths averaged in the low to mid-70s and in 2018 averaged 130 a  onth for those four months. 

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