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Drug crisis gets worse as Penticton heads for another record year for fatal overdoses

The city has seen 24 fatalities in 2022 so far compared to 2021’s record of 26
Beige chunks of ‘down’ sold in Penticton have been found to be pure fentanyl, which a high risk of fatal overdose. (Interior Health)

Penticton’s drug crisis, like the province’s, is getting worse as the city heads towards another record number of fatal overdoses.

The community has seen 24 deaths in 2022. The 24 deaths are up to September and don’t count October, according to information released by the B.C. Coroner’s Service.

In all of 2021, there were a total of 26 deaths from overdose, which was the worst year since 2019 when there were 21 fatal overdoses.

Drug alerts have been issued repeatedly for Penticton and across Interior Health in 2022, largely for high concentrations of fentanyl in drugs.

One drug alert in particular in June warned of nearly pure fentanyl being sold out on the streets with an “extreme risk’ of overdosing or dying.

READ MORE: Drug alert in Penticton for extreme risk of overdose and death

According to the Coroners Service, over 80 per cent of deaths across the province were found to have fentanyl in their system after their deaths.

Penticton’s current count of fatalities is on par with the city of Richmond, despite Richmond having a population of 209,000, over five times Penticton’s 37,000.

“British Columbians are continuing to suffer the tragic effects of a toxic and volatile drug supply, with almost six members of our communities dying each day,” said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe in a press release.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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