While B.C. overdose deaths soar, Princeton made a recovery in 2020

Between 2018 and 2020, eight Princeton residents died of suspected overdose.

Princeton has seen a 22 per cent drop in drug overdose fatalities in 2020. (File photo)

Princeton has seen a 22 per cent drop in drug overdose fatalities in 2020. (File photo)

In a year marked by the largest loss of life due to drug overdoses in B.C., Princeton saw a reduction in fatalities.

The province records 1,716 people lost to overdose, in a report recently released by the BC Coroner’s office detailing the statistics of 2020.

That amounts to a 74 per cent increase over the previous year.

“The impacts of COVID-19 highlighted the immensely precarious situation of those experiencing problematic substance use in our province,” chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said during a news conference.

“It’s clear that urgent change is needed to prevent future deaths and the resulting grief and loss so many families and communities have experienced across our province.”

Yet Princeton, a community that has led the province in drug related deaths per capitafor at least two years, had some relief, experiencing a 22 per cent drop in fatalities.

RELATED: Princeton suffers highest per capita rate of drug deaths: Coroner report

Between 2018 and 2020, eight Princeton residents died of suspected overdose.

That still lands the town on the ‘top 15’ of community deaths per the population metric. Hope, Vancouver and Keremeos made the tragic podium, with Princeton coming in sixth.

“Well I’m happy our numbers are down,” said Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne. “But any overdose is too many. We still have a long way to go dealing with mental health issues in town. COVID has put a lot of stress on mental health services.”

Coyne said any progress made on the problem likely comes from several directions. Town council was instrumental in securing the return of services from the South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS).

The organization visits Princeton every Friday afternoon with a bus full of harm reduction supplies and the offer of counselling.

As well, harm reduction supplies are available for free at the public health unit, located in the same building as Princeton General Hospital.

Coyne said a factor in Princeton’s recovery rate could be the Naloxone-use training that was made available for first responders, business owners, and organizations in 2019 and early 2020.

“We had training for just about everyone. Kits were made available everywhere and I still have one on my desk here.”

RELATED: Another Princeton family devastated by drug death

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:mailto:andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com


 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wife and husband duo Alexis Esseltine and Timothy Scoon n took over Penticton’s Tin Whistle Brewing in October, 2020 and are making their mark on the iconic brew-spot by announcing a new look and an environmental focus. (Contributed)
Penticton’s original brewery goes eco-friendly under new ownership

Tin Whistle Brewing is now one of the first certified carbon neutral breweries in B.C.

Osoyoos Lake. (File)
Osoyoos recognizes community’s many volunteers

There were 17 nominees and winners for 2019 and 2020

Courtesy of pixaby
A call for after-hour vet care in Penticton can’t be met with crisis level vet shortages

Kelowna is only option for pet emergencies in all of Okanagan

A house fire that sent smoke billowing through a Penticton neighbourhood Wednesday, April 21, 2021 was extinguished before any irreversible damage was done. (Facebook photo)
Residents unharmed in second alarm Penticton house fire

Heavy black smoke was seen coming from the back of the Alexander Street home Wednesday night

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

The Regional District of North Okanagan is asking Vernon-based Tolko Industries to halt a planned cut block 500 metres above the Duteau Creek water intake, which provides 60 per cent of the Greater Vernon water supply April 22, 2021. (File photo)
Tolko urged to halt planned logging above Greater Vernon water supply

RDNO says planned cutblock above Duteau Creek could threaten 60 per cent of Vernon area water supply

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP arrested a suspected impaired driver who took an unauthorized short cut to a Coldstream roadway. (File photo)
Impaired driver on slippery slope with Vernon RCMP

Person caught leaving locked Coldstream parking lot by taking unauthorized shortcut to roadway

A police officer stands by a kayak that overturned on Mission Creek in Kelowna on Thursday, April 22. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kayakers flip in Kelowna’s Mission Creek, lose two boats

Two overturned kayaks were spotted floating down the waterway on Thursday, kayaker says everybody made it out safely

Are you considering any ambitious home renovation projects? The Okanagan Regional Library can help. (Black Press file photo)
COLUMN: Redecorate your home with help from the library

Plenty of resources in place for home decoration projects

Peyton Slind enjoys the fruits of his labour. Photo submitted
B.C. youngster builds hammock out of 900 plastic bags

“I’m going to enjoy it until it splits in half.”

Most Read