Fatal ODs trend downward in Northeast B.C.

Ten people died of a fatal drug overdose in Northeast B.C. in the first six months of 2019, with fentanyl detected in all but two of them, according to the latest data from the provincial coroner.

The region has seen a small trend downward year-over-year alongside the province, which has seen 538 fatal ODs, down 30%, in the first half of the year.

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Overdose deaths are down roughly 17% so far year-over-year in the Northeast, down by two from the 12 deaths recorded in the first half of 2018.

There have been 31 fatal overdoses overall in Northern B.C. so far in 2019, with 11 in Prince George, seven in the Northwest, and three more elsewhere in the Northern Interior. Fentanyl was detected in 23 of those deaths, including eight of the 10 deaths in the Northeast.

Across the province, fentanyl was detected in 446 of the 538 overdoses. The powerful opioid carfentanil, a drug experts say is 100 times stronger than fentanyl, was found in one-quarter of the fentanyl-detected deaths.

The coroners service says 70% of those who died are people aged between 30 and 59, and that men account for nearly four out of every five deaths.

The Fort St. John Community Action Team and Healthy FSJ will be holding a number of events later this month as part of Overdose Awareness Week.

A film screening of the documentary Bevel Up on Monday, Aug. 26, at Northern Lights College from noon to 1 p.m.

It will hold naloxone and harm reduction training sessions and a candelight vigil on Tuesday, Aug. 27, at the Friendship Centre, and will host a community barbecue at 100 and 100 on Aug. 30. 

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca. 

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