March 17, 2017 2:03 pm

Grim fatal drug overdose numbers in the Okanagan

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The calamity of illegal drug use continues to take its deadly toll in the Okanagan.

The BC Coroners Service reports 17 people died in Kelowna from confirmed or suspected drug overdoses in the first two months of the year.

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Only Vancouver and Surrey had more fatal overdoses with 74 and 23 respectively.

There were two deaths in Vernon and 219 in the province in the same time period.

The 102 fatalities in February alone is a 73% increase from the same month last year.

The chief coroner says none of the deaths were at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.

“This is evidence that these sites are saving lives,” said Lisa Lapointe in a news release. “People need to be encouraged to visit these sites as the majority of deaths are occurring when people use illicit substances without medical attention or assistance nearby.”

Most of the deceased are men aged 30-49 years.

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