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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

AGM takes centre stage

Lester Centre presented annual reports on June 24

Evictions to resume

Landlords with existing orders can file for enforcement on July 2nd

Province supports emergency preparedness in communities

It’s not ‘if’ an emergency will happen but ‘when’

Teachers run this town

Staff at PRMS complete a physical education of the city by walking each street in Prince Rupert

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Most Read