Data released by the B.C. Coroners Service Sept. 23, 2020 shows that the Okanagan is on pace to record more overdose deaths in 2020 than in 2019. (Jesse Day - Western News)

2020 overdose death toll rises to 73 in the Okanagan

Just under half of the deaths occurred in Kelowna

The Okanagan is on pace to record more overdose deaths in 2020 than in 2019, according to data from the B.C. Coroners Service.

This would be the first year the overdose death toll has risen year-to-year in the Okanagan since the number spiked to 155 in 2017.

READ MORE: First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

A total of 73 people in the Okanagan have died from illicit drug overdoses so far in 2020, compared to 84 in all of 2019.

Thirty-six of the 73 deaths so far in 2020 occurred in Kelowna. That surpasses the city’s total of 33 through the entirety of 2019.

The years of 2017 and 2018 were the worst on record for overdose deaths in the Okanagan with 155 and 129, respectively.

From 2010 to 2016, the Okanagan saw a combined total of 242 overdose fatalities, for an average of 34 per year.

The month of August 2020 saw seven overdose deaths in the Okanagan, down from 13 in July and 14 in June. Three of the seven occurred in Kelowna.

From 2018 to August 2020, there have been 45 overdose fatalities in Penticton, six in Keremeos and seven in Princeton. All three communities rank within the top 15 local health authorities in the province with the highest death rate per 100,000 people in that time frame.

(B.C. Coroners Service)

Across the province, 1,068 people have died from overdoses so far this year. Vancouver has the highest number of total deaths of all townships in 2020 at 259, followed by Surrey’s 130 and Victoria’s 95. Kelowna and Kamloops both have the fourth highest number at 36.

Fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine are the three drugs most commonly associated with the loss of life. Nearly 80 per cent of all overdose deaths in the province this year have involved fentanyl or fentanyl analogues, while just over 50 per cent have involved cocaine.

READ MORE: Some B.C. nurses given green light to prescribe safe drugs amid overdose spike



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

B.C. overdosesDrugsfentanylopioid crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Golden Food Bank will host its third annual Trick or Eat fundraiser this Halloween. The food bank has experienced a rise in clients since the onset of the pandemic. (File photo)
Golden Food Bank to hold third annual Trick or Eat fundraiser

The fundraiser will look a bit different from years past as the event is adjusted for COVID protocal

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Leighton Allen Labute faces charges of animal abuse and allegedly has a string of social media accounts depicting disturbing content.
Accused Kelowna hamster killer facing new charge for publishing video online

Leighton Allen Labute, 21, is also charged with killing and causing unnecessary suffering to one or more hamsters

(Black Press Media file)
Suspect at large after allegedly evading police, crashing into power pole in Kelowna

The Kelowna RCMP is urging anyone with information on this incident to come forward

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

Most Read