Despite being on track in 2022 for the worst year of fatal overdoses, the number of calls in Penticton overall went down according to recently released BC Emergency Health Services statistics.
According to those statistics, the number of calls dropped by about 11 per cent, from 748 in 2021 down to 661 in 2022. Per capita, that still leaves the city with calls far in excess of almost every other city in the province.
In Surrey for example, there was roughly one overdose call for every 211 people, and in Kelowna there was one call for every 126 people. In Penticton, there was one call for every 56 people.
Penticton was also looking at one of the worst years in its history for fatal overdoses, which also continue to be very high per capita.
The most recent information available from the BC Coroners Service, which documents fatal overdoses in B.C., found that there had been 24 deaths up to September.
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.
Despite the high number of per capita calls and the high number of fatal overdoses, the decrease in the total number of calls according to the BC EHS made Penticton one of the few communities in the Okanagan to see a drop.
Kelowna’s numbers continued their yearly increase, rising from 1,590 in 2021 to 1,824 in 2022. Kamloops rose from 1,070 to 1,285, Vernon from 457 to 513, Oliver from 34 to 37, Osoyoos from 16 to 24 and Summerland from 30 to 38.
Keremeos was another of the nearby communities that saw a decrease, going from 15 calls in 2021 to 11 in 2022.