Drug overdose deaths continue tragic climb in the Okanagan

An intravenous drug user in a downtown Kelowna doorway. Doris Bregolisse/Global News

The BC Coroners Service says 1,103 people died in the first nine months of the year due to suspected illicit drug overdoses.

In 2016, there were 982 fatal overdoses in the province.

There have been 63 drug caused deaths to the end of September this year in Kelowna and 17 in Vernon.

That’s an increase from the 47 for the same period last year in Kelowna and 12 in Vernon.

The new numbers show fentanyl has been detected in about 83 per cent of fatal overdoses this year in BC, up 147 per cent over the same period in 2016.

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In most cases, the powerful opioid painkiller was combined with other drugs including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

The statistics show nine out of 10 deaths occurred indoors.

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