Northern Health has the highest rate of illicit drug deaths in BC at 35.4 per 100,000 people.
Our region has seen 62 deaths so far this year, 14 of which are from last month.
Today (Tuesday), the BC Coroners Service reported 175 deaths in July, the exact same number as June.
Last month’s total represents a 136% increase over the number of deaths seen in July 2019 (74).
Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe stated this is part of a very disturbing trend.
“It is the third consecutive month with more than 170 suspect illicit drug overdose deaths and represents more than five deaths each day during that period.”
“There continues to be judgement and stigmatization and shaming directed at those experiencing problematic substance use, this can result in isolation, using alone and a fear of seeking help or support.”
Graphic supplied by BC Coroners Service
There have been 909 illicit drug deaths in BC this year, including 22 in Prince George.
79% of the total number of deaths are men.
Between 2018 to 2020, the northern capital has seen 103 drug toxicity deaths, equating to a rate of 39.7 per 100-thousand people.
The number of non-fatal overdose incidents is also increasing, with a record high of over 2,700 calls reported by BC Emergency Health Services in July.
“Paramedics are responding to and reviving overdose patients about 80 times a day, every single day in B.C.,” said Jon Deakin, paramedic practice leader with BCEHS.
“It’s a lot. It’s the highest number of daily overdoses BCEHS has ever seen.”