Homeless deaths in the North doubled from 2015 to 2016 according to the latest B.C. Coroners Services Report.

The number of deaths in Prince George increased from two to five with the total number of deaths in the North going from 4 to 8.

Chart from B.C. Coroners Services Reportable Deaths of Homeless Individuals, 2007 – 2016 report.

Spokes Person for the BC Coroners Services, Andy Watson said the increase is related to the drug epidemic.

“A high proportion of deaths involving homeless people were in the last quarter of the year, and that’s when we saw the overdose deaths spike up as well.”

Chart from B.C. Coroners Services Reportable Deaths of Homeless Individuals, 2007 – 2016 report.

He added as numbers for 2017 and 2018 are released, it will be interesting to see if the trend continues to be related to the drug crisis.

The report shows 85 per cent of deaths were homeless men.

The majority of deaths involved street homelessness, accounting for 53 per cent with only 36 per cent involving people in the shelter system.

“The hope is to provide information to policymakers and legislators so they can be aware of who is impacted by this crisis and where we are seeing the deaths occurring.”