Drug deaths still in­creas­ing at ‘alarm­ing’ rate

The Daily Courier - - WESTSIDE WEEKLY -

Drug over­dose deaths con­tinue to rise across the Okana­gan and In­te­rior Health at an “alarm­ing” rate, says med­i­cal health of­fi­cer Dr. Silv­ina Mema.

In March, there were 22 il­licit drug over­dose deaths across In­te­rior Health, up from 18 in Fe­bru­ary and com­pared to 12 over­dose deaths in March 2016, ac­cord­ing to a B.C. Coroners Ser­vice re­port that was re­leased on Wed­nes­day.

From Jan­uary to March 31 this year, the Okana­gan saw a more than 50 per cent in­crease in il­licit drug over­dose death rates com­pared to 2016.

In the Okana­gan, there were 37 over­dose deaths in the first three months of the year, at a rate of 39.9 per 100,000 peo­ple; in Kelowna, there were 24 over­dose deaths dur­ing the same time pe­riod.

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