The number of drug toxicity deaths in both of the health delivery service areas in the Cariboo is on the decline.

Andy Watson, Manager of Strategic Communications with the BC Coroners Service, says there have been 30 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in the Northern Interior, which includes Quesnel, so far this year, compared to 60 in all of 2018.

And Watson says there was even more of a decline in the Thompson-Cariboo service area, which includes Williams Lake and 100 Mile House…

“We’ve seen a fairly significant reduction in the number of fatal incidents in this health service delivery area. 35 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths reported through the first 10 months of 2019. Compare that to 85 for the entire year of 2018 so the rate has dropped more than double in that area.”

Watson says the numbers in the Cariboo are fairly consistent with what has been happening province-wide, although he cautions that while they are promising, the crisis continues as the actual number of overdose calls that paramedics are responding to has remained consistent…

“We certainly know from our partners in BC Emergency Health Services that they’re responding to more than 20,000 overdose calls in the province this year, averaging around 64 potential poisoning calls a day. So we know right now the drug supply right now is unpredictable, so those that are using substances need to be aware of that, and we must continue to remain vigilant.”

71 percent of those who have died from a drug overdose in 2019 were between the ages of 30 and 59.

Males have accounted for about nine out of every 10 deaths.