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Toxic drug overdoses in Vernon rise in 2024

In a presentation to council, Interior Health projects 78 more than in 2023

Fentanyl continues to be the leading drug involved in overdoses within the Vernon community.

At Vernon's upcoming council meeting, on Monday, June 24, Megan Thorne, director of clinical operations for the North Okanagan Mental Health Substance Unit (MHSU) will be presenting an update on mental health and addiction within the city of Vernon.

According to Thorne, there were 3,828 total visits to the MHSU in 2023. 

Methamphetamines (149 occurrences) and Fentanyl (248 occurrences) were far and away the most consumed substances within the MHSU.

Additionally, the amount of paramedic attended overdose events are expected to be higher in 2024. In 2023, there were 450 and in 2024 there has already been 176, for a projection of 528.

"The rate of female deaths have been increasing year over year," the presentation states. "In 2024, deaths among females (23 per 100,000), is almost double the rate from 2020 (13 per 100,000)."

There has also been an increased number of overdoses in alleyways and sidewalks in Vernon. Fortunately, all overdose responses to them have been successful.

According to the B.C. Coroners Service, the number of unregulated drug deaths are down in 2024. In 2023, there was 57 and so far through April, there have been 12, for a projection of 36 in the year. 

The full presentation can be found at




Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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