Overdose numbers are down province-wide, which the BC Coroners Service says is a result of the prevention efforts put in place.

In 2018 there was an average of eight deaths a month in the North, but for the first five months of 2019, the percentage dropped to five deaths per month.

Andy Watson, Spokesperson for the BC Coroners Service, said although this is just preliminary data, better awareness has resulted in lowered numbers.

“What we do know is that we have not seen a single death in our data for the deaths we investigated at supervised consumption or overdose prevention sites so we know those are working.”

“We know that the discussions we are having in society right now around ending stigma for drug use has helped as well because it’s allowed people to have conversations to educate themselves and to share information.”

Last year in the Northern Region there were 96 overdose deaths compared to the 25 so far this year. Of those numbers 48 were from Prince George last year with only nine so far in 2019.

Region overdose death chart (supplied by BC Coroners Service)

Watson added one of the major issues they are still facing is that the drug supply is unsafe with different drugs laced with more dangerous substances like fentanyl without people realizing.

The Coroners report shows that four in every five overdoses involve fentanyl.

“We continue to see that those who are dying are using indoors so we still have work to do and again we think those people based on that anecdotal evidence we have are using alone without anyone with them,” said Watson