The opioid crisis continues to have a startling impact on the city of Kamloops, as 12 people have died of an illicit overdose across the first three months of 2019.
According to the latest statistics from the B.C. Coroner's Services, out of overdose deaths in the local community from January to March, fentanyl or its analogues were detected in nine of them (75 per cent).
The data is still subject to change pending investigations, but Kamloops is currently on pace for another record number of lives lost as a result of an illicit overdose.
Last year was the previous high, with 47 people dying from an overdose. (It was first reported as 48, but as previously mentioned, the data is subject to change.) Fentanyl or its analogues were detected in 83 per cent of the deceased.
Overall, there have been 44 overdose deaths in the Interior Health region in the first quarter of 2019, which is an improvement for the local health authority. In 2018, 230 people were lost to overdose in the Interior.
As local government continues to look for answers as to how to combat this crisis in our community, the picture across British Columbia is not much more optimistic.
There were 104 victims of overdose death across B.C. this past March; a 34 per cent decrease over March 2018 but a 42 per cent increase over February. Preliminary data shows that fentanyl has been present in 85 per cent of illicit drug overdose deaths in the province this year.
Also, carfentanyl — an analog 100 times stronger than fentanyl — was detected in 64 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C. over the first three months of 2019. That number is nearly double the amount of deaths carfentanyl was detected in all of 2018 (35).
The increased detection prompted a warning from health authorities back in March.
Once again, there were no deaths at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.