Kamloops on track for deadliest year of overdose crisis

Six more fatal overdoses

Kamloops is on pace to record its deadliest year ever for drug overdoses after six more people lost their lives to toxic illicit drugs in the city in April, according to the latest provincial statistics.

The BC Coroners Service said 182 people died in April from drug overdoses — a 24 per cent decrease in deaths from April 2023.

In Kamloops, six people died from drug overdoses in April for a total of 34 in the first four months of the year. The stats have Kamloops on pace to record 102 drug overdose deaths this year, which would set a new record — eclipsing the high of 92 fatalities recorded in the city in 2022. Last year, 81 people lost their lives to fatal overdoses in Kamloops.

Year to date, Kamloops makes up about four per cent of drug overdose deaths across the province. Kelowna, which has recorded 26 deaths to date, makes up three per cent of the provincial total while Vancouver is at 23 per cent with 174 deaths.

The coroners service said fentanyl continues to be the primary driver of overdoses this year, and was detected in 82 per cent of toxicological tests.

Unregulated drug toxicity remains the leading cause of death for people in the province between the ages of 10 and 59, and accounts for more deaths than homicides, suicides, accidents and natural disease combined.

The statement said about 70 per cent of the people who died in April were male and the death rate for females has nearly doubled since 2020, from about 13 to 23 per 100,000 in 2024.

The coroners service report said that 763 people in the province have died from toxic drugs in the first four months of this year.

It said in the eight years since the public-health emergency was declared, 14,582 people have died in B.C. from drug overdoses.

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