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Hope’s high rate of drug overdose noted in BC Coroners Service report

Up-to-date numbers not available yet for 2021, but Fraser Health deaths on the rise
An injection kit is seen inside a Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Hope’s high rate of deaths due to illicit drugs was once again mentioned in a B.C. Coroners Service report.

The report was released last week, highlighting the illicit drug toxicity deaths in B.C. over the past 10 years. By the end of this March, there were 498 deaths in B.C. already, outpacing all previous years to date.

Illicit drug deaths are rapidly rising, while other unnatural causes (suicide, homicide, motor vehicle accidents and prescription drugs) have stayed relatively steady. The most common illicit drug leading to death is fentanyl.

While the report does not break down local health areas, it does mention the rates for 2020, which saw Fort Nelson, Quesnel, Keremeos, Hope, and Enderby with the highest rates. That year, Hope saw six illicit drug deaths, a rate of 66.4 per 100,000 people. Information about each community in B.C. will be made available every four months.

Chilliwack’s numbers are listed, with 17 illicit drug deaths already this year. Last year in total that number was 35. In Fraser East, the numbers are generally on the rise.

There is currently an overdose alert in effect in the Fraser Health Region. Fraser Health advises that people with high tolerance levels are experiencing overdose, people have extremely low levels of consciousness, and that naloxone may not fully reverse effects of an overdose involving benzodiazepines – making extra important to provide breaths and not delay in calling 9-1-1 if someone overdoses.

READ MORE: Steady increase in demand for harm reduction supplies in Hope


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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