Between May and June, Penticton recorded five fatal overdoses, bringing the total to 15 for the year so far, according to the B.C. Coroner’s Service.
In comparison, for the entire year of 2019, there were 22 fatal overdoses in Penticton.
There was a drop in the number of deaths in 2020, but 2021 has risen dramatically. According to a report to city council in December 2020, each of the deaths that year had involved fentanyl.
From January to April in 2021 there were 10 deaths due to an overdose in Penticton, followed by five more from May to June.
Across the entire province, at least 1,011 people died of a suspected overdose over the first half of 2021.
According to the most recent data available from the B.C. Coroner’s Service, June was the ninth consecutive month where at least 150 residents in B.C. had died due to an overdose.
Interior Health cut off funding for the Pathways Addictions Resource Centre at the end of May, deciding to bring addictions services in house. This left many of Pathways’ clients without access to the services they needed.
Since then, the centre has re-opened with a new model that will provide counselling for a fee, in order to sustain themselves without Interior Health’s funding.
A day of information and awareness was held at Gyro Park on Aug. 31 for International Overdose Awareness Day. Naloxone training, information on harm reduction and on-site drug testing were available at this well attended day.
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