Kelowna’s opioid death rate tops Vancouver’s

Death toll mounting due to opioids

Efforts to deal with the ongoing opioid crisis in Kelowna seem to be falling flat.

In a presentation expected to go before council Monday, Silvina Mema, a Medical Health Officer for Interior Health Authority, will lay out the current situation with some bleak statistics.

RELATED: FENTANYL-LINKED OVERDOSE DEATHS SPIKE

There were 60 OD deaths in Kelowna from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, meaning the projected death toll for 2017 is 90. In 2016 47 died. Fentanyl has been detected in 90 per cent of these cases.

The illicit drug overdose death rate is higher in the Kelowna Census Metropolitan Area —which includes everything from Lake Country to Peachland —than it is in Vancouver. Kelowna General Hospital had the highest number of opioid poisoning hospitalizations in 2016/17 in the country.

Most affected by the fentanyl crisis are men between the ages of 30 and 49 and the aboriginal population.

The report goes on to list why these groups intersect with illicit drugs and finds that social determinants, such as housing, income, mental health and trauma are a cause of use for 85 per cent of those surveyed. Chronic pain contributed to usage among 15 to 20 per cent of those surveyed.

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kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

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