Kelowna has the fourth-highest number of fatal overdoses in B.C. over the last 10 years, behind only Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria, according to data published Aug. 31 by the BC Coroners Service.
Kelowna had a total of 369 deaths caused by illicit drug toxicity from January 2011 to June 30, 2021, 25 of those coming since the beginning of this year.
Across the province, illicit drug toxicity death rates remain high for all health authorities. There were 159 overdose deaths in June 2021 alone, the ninth consecutive month with more than 150 deaths.
A total of 1,011 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths were recorded between January 2021 and June 2021, the highest number of deaths recorded in the first six months of a year. That puts B.C. on pace to break its record-high 1,728 overdose deaths in a single calendar year set in 2020.
According to the Coroners Service, 44 years old is the average age for someone to die from illicit drug poisoning and roughly 80 per cent of fatalities have been men. Illicit versions of fentanyl and carfentanil, the two drugs wreaking havoc in British Columbia, have accounted for 87 per cent of those deaths.
– With files from Katya Slepian and Ashley Wadhwani