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HomeNews100 Mile HouseMore grim numbers are out on the illicit drug crisis in BC...

More grim numbers are out on the illicit drug crisis in BC and here in the Cariboo

According to the BC Coroners Service, six people per day on average died from an overdose in July.

Northern Health recorded 12 fatalities during the month and Interior Health 32.

So far in 2021, 77 people have lost their lives to illicit drugs in Northern Health and 194 in Interior Health.

Breaking those numbers down even further, there were three deaths in the Northern Interior Health Service Delivery Area, which includes Quesnel, Prince George and Burns Lake primarily, and there were 36 deaths between January and July.

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Williams Lake and 100 Mile House are part of the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap along with Kamloops, and those numbers are even worse.

That health region experienced 9 deaths in July and 78 from January to July, and had the second highest drug toxicity death rate in all of BC at 52.9 people per 100,000.

Only Vancouver is worse at 70.

Province-wide, 184 lives were lost in July due to toxic illicit drugs.

That is the second-largest number of fatalities ever recorded in a month – only June of 2020 had more (186).

“Clearly, the scale of this public health emergency requires an urgent, coordinated, and multi-faceted health-system response,” said Lisa Lapointe, Chief Coroner.

“Those at risk of dying come from all walks of life and live in every part of our province. If we truly want to save lives, and accessible range of solutions that reflects the breadth and scope of this crisis is urgently needed. This would include drug-checking services, safe consumption sites, meaningful access to life-saving safe supply, and the implementation of evidence-based standards of practice for the treatment of problematic substance use. The heartbreak being experienced by another five or six more families in our province each and every day cannot continue.”

There have been 1,204 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in BC between January and July of this year.

This is the highest number of deaths ever recorded in the first seven months of a calendar year and represents a 28% spike when compared to the same time frame in 2020.

72% of deaths this year were from people between the ages of 30-59.

Since a public health emergency was declared in 2016, nearly 8,000 British Columbians have died from illicit drugs.

(With files from Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)

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