Northwest sees 0 fentanyl-detected deaths in January but Northern Health numbers static

Northern Health saw six fentanyl-detected deaths in January, the same as in 2019

The Northwest region of Northwest Health saw 0 fentanyl-detected deaths in January as the entire province saw a 33 per cent decrease in deaths compared to January 2019.

Despite the positive news for the Northwest and B.C., the rate of deaths in the Northern Health region still remained the same as in 2019 which also saw six deaths for the month. The Northeast had four deaths, while the Northern Interior saw two.

Statistics for B.C. also paint a grim picture with regard to the total number of drug toxicity deaths where fentanyl or one of its analogues were detected in lab tests remaining alarmingly high at 86 per cent. In 2015 that number was at 29 per cent. By 2017 it had spiked to 82 per cent. 2018-2019 saw it remain relatively static at 86 and 85 per cent, respectively.

READ MORE: Opioid crisis to blame for shorter life expectancy in B.C. men

Currently the Northern Health region has the highest rate of illicit drug toxicity deaths in 2020 (29 deaths per 100,000 individuals), however this does not account solely for fentanyl-related deaths, but any death related to an illegal substance. This rate is followed by Interior Health Authority (23 deaths per 100,000 individuals). This compares to an overall rate of 20 deaths per 100,000 individuals in the first three months for the Province.

Doctors in the province have already sounded the alarm that the virus could have far-reaching impacts into the crisis, with Dr. Daniel Kalla, head of emergency medicine at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, telling media outlets last month he had fears the pandemic was driving people to abuse substances more recklessly and saying he had seen an increase in overdoses since it began.

The crisis continues to impact males at approximately a 3 to 1 rate compared to females, with deaths for January (47 male, 15 female) reflecting these rates. Seventy-nine per cent of the deaths in 2020 have been between the ages of 19 and 49, reflecting a continuation of a trend from recent years.

Northern Health has taken a number of recent steps in the region to address the crisis, including funding an additional community action team (CAT) in Terrace. Dawson Creek and Quesnel will also be getting CAT teams, bringing the regional total to five. The region is also implementing education resources, including modules and online training for all support staff to reduce stigma toward people who use substances. Out east, a nurse practitioner completed an injectable opioid agonist therapy fellowship to provide services in Prince George.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

opioid crisis

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

Just Posted

Trap shooting for Thursdays back at Tweedsmuir Park Rod and Gun Club

Tweedsmuir Park Rod and Gun Club is back with their summer offerings.… Continue reading

The violence and abuse hiding in plain sight

Usually when a business or an organization has a big influx of… Continue reading

Shop local on July 25 to support Burns Lake businesses

Mark your calendars and say thank you to our community’s backbone

Government and WE Charity breakup won’t affect Burns Lake students

Local students weren’t set to participate in the program, says teacher

The Pines gets a $3,000 funding from Bulkley Valley Credit Union

The Pines nursing home in Burns Lake received a $3,000 funding from… Continue reading

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read