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Vernon’s 40 fatal drug overdoses 12th most in B.C.

2022 sees two fewer deaths than in 2021, while the province as a whole had 2,272 deaths
Illicit fentanyl was the leading cause of death with 85.8% of fatalities having the drug in their system (Illustration by Arek Socha/Pixabay)

Vernon had 40 fatal drug overdoses last year, which was 12th most in the province and two less than in 2021.

The stats, released by the B.C. government on Tuesday, Jan. 31, showcase a moderate decrease in deaths from the prior year. However, 2021’s number of 42 was the most ever. Back in 2012, the city had just one death, but that number has skyrocketed over the past 10 years.

The overdose deaths are defined by illicit drugs, which include street drugs (controlled and illegal drugs like heroin, MDMA, cocaine, methamphetamine) and medications not prescribed that were purchased on the street.

In 2022, the province recorded 2,272 deaths, which was the second most in a calendar year, behind 2021 (2,306).

November and December last year combined for 392 deaths, which equated to 6.4 deaths a day in the province.

Location wise, Vancouver leads the way with 562 in 2022, which was 20 more than 2021.

Surrey’s 232 was second, while Greater Victoria (157), Kamloops (90) and Abbotsford (88) rounded out the top five. Kelowna’s 87 deaths was the sixth most in the province.

Illicit fentanyl was by far the leading cause of illicit drug deaths, accounting for 85.8 per cent of fatalities. Cocaine was second with 44.5 per cent.

For the full government release, you can click here.

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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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