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Toxic drug deaths recorded in Summerland

Summerland Review - 5/10/2024

Deaths from unregulated toxic drug use continue to take a toll in the Okanagan, according to figures from the British Columbia Coroners Service.

In the first quarter of 2024, there were 572 deaths from toxic drug use in British Columbia, including 46 in the Okanagan.

The number of deaths from toxic drug use has been increasing since 2014. In 2023, 2,551 deaths from drug use were recorded provincewide, including 219 in the Okanagan.

In Summerland, there were four toxic drug deaths in 2023, compared to three in 2022, none in 2021 and two in 2020.

While provincial figures for the first three months of 2024 have been calculated, the statistics have not been released for individual communities at present.

The rate of unregulated drug deaths in Summerland was 29.1 per 100,000 population in 2023, up from 22.3 per 100,000 population in 2022.

In the Okanagan, the rate of unregulated drug deaths in 2023 was 49.8 per 100,000 population. By comparison, the rate of unregulated drug deaths in British Columbia as a whole was 46.2 per 100,000 population.

In April 2016, the province declared toxic drug deaths as a public health emergency. Since that time, at least 14,400 people have died from toxic drug use.