Prince George recorded nearly half (47.3%) of all illicit drug toxicity deaths that occurred in Northern Health during January.
Out of the 19 fatalities, the health authority tallied, nine of those were in the northern capital according to the BC Coroners Service.
PG also had the fourth-highest amount of overdose deaths by city to kick off the new year trailing only Vancouver (48), Surrey (22), and Kamloops (11).
According to BC Emergency Health Services, paramedics have responded to a combined 280 overdose calls in PG during January and February.
Province-wide, there were 207 suspected illicit drug deaths – the number equates to about 6.7 deaths per day on average.
Northern Health has the highest illicit drug toxicity rate among all the health authorities in BC at 74.5 per 100,000 people – 20 points ahead of Vancouver Coastal (54.2).
Since January of 2021, NH documented 166 substance-related deaths equating to nearly 13 per month – outpacing the city of Victoria, which has only seen 134 fatalities over the same time period.
In terms of Health Service Delivery Area, the Northern Interior, which includes PG-Quesnel-Burns Lake and the Robson Valley has the second-highest drug toxicity death rate of 85.2 – only Thompson Cariboo ranked higher at 93.4.
The Coroners Service noted 72% of those dying so far in 2022 are between the ages of 30 and 59.
However, 40% of all fatalities this year are from those aged 50 and above.
Fentanyl was detected in approximately 83% of all illicit drug deaths in 2022.
BC posted a record 2,232 drug overdose deaths last year.
No fatalities were reported at supervised consumption or drug prevention sites.