Participants of the Okanagan Nation Purple Ribbon Campaign march over the William R. Bennett Bridge from Westbank to Kelowna’s City Park on Aug. 28, 2019, in support of International Overdose Awareness Day. (David Venn - Kelowna Capital News)

Overdose deaths down nearly 50 per cent in Kelowna in past year

In 2019, there were 27 illicit overdose deaths in Kelowna, down from 55 deaths

Kelowna has had the highest number of illicit drug overdoses across the Okanagan so for this year, however the number of fatal overdoses is down by nearly 50 per cent compared to last year.

According to data from the BC Coroners Service, 27 people died from an overdose in Kelowna between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, down from 2018’s total of 55 deaths for the same period of time.

The number of deaths in Kelowna has been steadily decreasing since the overdose crisis in 2017 when the city recorded 73 fatalities.

In the Okanagan, Penticton had 17 overdose deaths in 2019 and Vernon recorded 12.

READ MORE: Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Across the province, overdose deaths have also dropped from 1,290 fatalities so far this year to 823 as of Oct. 31, 2019.

According to the provincial agency, in October there were a total of 69 deaths, which is a 42 per cent decrease from October 2018, however overdose fatalities increased by 21 per cent compared to September.

On a positive note, the report stated that no deaths were reported so far this year at any supervised consumption or overdose sites.

Of the 823 deaths in 2019, 193 were female and 630 were men with the largest number of the deaths in the 30-39 age group (227).

For Kelowna, the number of deaths has been steadily decreasing since the overdose crisis in 2017 when Kelowna recorded 73 deaths.

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