News Prince George experiences downturn in illicit drug deaths so far in 2019 SHARE ON: Ethan Ready, staff Wednesday, May. 15th, 2019 BC Coroners Service has released data for first quarter drug-related deaths in the province. (Pexels) While low, the numbers don’t paint a complete picture for the Northern Capital. Through the first quarter of the current calendar year, Prince George has experienced six illicit drug overdose deaths. This comes as the BC Coroners Service has released two updated reports on illicit drug deaths and fentanyl-detected deaths to the end of March of 2019. Overall, the province has seen the monthly average for illicit drug deaths come down by approximately one-third in the first quarter of the year. That’s in comparison to the same period for the previous year in 2018. “We’re averaging 90 deaths per month for the first quarter of 2019 compared to about 130 deaths per month in 2018,” BC Coroners Services’ Andy Watson told MyPGNow. “Provincially, we’ve seen a shift, but that’s still 90 deaths per month.” For Prince George, the Northern Capital averaged four deaths per month through the first quarter of last year. As it stands, those numbers have dropped by approximately 50 per cent according to Watson. “We’re dealing with small numbers at this stage, so that data should be interpreted with caution,” insisted Watson. “It is preliminary data, so it could go up, but certainly seeing a slight downturn in Prince George.” Watson adds that any additional deaths could have significant implications on those numbers. 2018 marked the highest number of illicit drug deaths that Prince George has seen. With 47, deaths nearly doubled from the year prior with 24 in 2017. In the region of Northern Health, 92 drug-related overdoes resulting in death occurred last year. Across the province, there was a total of 1,514 deaths. Province-wide, more than two-thirds of the illicit-drug deaths in the first quarter of the year involved people aged 30-59. Males accounted for four in every five of all illicit-drug deaths over the same period.