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December deadliest month of 2016 for Interior Health region overdoses

Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo.
Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo. Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)

The latest B.C. Coroners numbers show the overdose crisis in the Okanagan and across the province has reached new heights.

READ MORE: Drug overdose among the top 10 causes of death in B.C.

Illicit overdose deaths within the Interior Health region in December surpassed all other months of 2016, with 29 people dying, 10 more than the previous record death toll in November.

READ MORE: 128 people in B.C. died from illicit drug use in November

Throughout the Okanagan 76 people died from illicit drug overdoses last year, compared to 42 in 2015.

Kelowna saw the biggest increase as overdose deaths rose by 250 per cent year-over-year, 48 fatalities in 2016 compared to 19 in 2015. In Vernon 13 people died in 2016 compared to eight the year previous.

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READ MORE: Emergency overdose sites opening in Kelowna

READ MORE: Interior Health pulls plans on 1 of 2 planned overdose prevention sites in Kelowna

In B.C., 914 people died from illicit drug overdoses last year compared to 510 in 2015, an increase of 79 per cent.
In B.C., 914 people died from illicit drug overdoses last year compared to 510 in 2015, an increase of 79 per cent.

According to the coroner, most people who died from overdoses were inside a private residence which included driveways, garages and trailer homes.

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READ MORE: Prescription opioid use growing in B.C.: study

December deadliest month of 2016 for Interior Health region overdoses - image

The majority of those who fatally overdosed, nearly 81 per cent, were men and the age group most affected was people between the age of 30-39.

The coroner reported no deaths at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.

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