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Coroners Service reports two fatal overdose deaths in Kootenays in February

Two fatal overdoses due to the toxic drug supply were reported in the Kootenay region in February, according to the B.C. Coroners Service. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Two fatal overdose deaths were recorded in the Kootenay region in February, as the provincial toll reached 177, according to the latest report from the BC Coroners Service.

The report records one death each in East Kootenay and Kootenay-Boundary regions.

There have been three fatal overdoses in the East Kootenay due to the toxic drug supply in the first two months of the year, according to the report.

“To the families and friends who have faced the unimaginable, and to the communities that have been pierced time and again by these tragedies, know that your grief is seen and shared,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, in a statement.

“I have been moved by the stories and struggles I’ve heard, by the love and the pain in your voices. As we approach the eighth anniversary of this public-health emergency, we are reminded that our commitment to each person’s right to life and safety remains as firm as ever.”

Provincially, the February death toll equated to 6.1 deaths per day, while the 177 total is a 12 per cent decrease from January’s deaths. February marks the 20th consecutive month where there have been more than 175 deaths.

Over the first two months of the year, 70 per cent of fatal overdose deaths were by individuals aged 30-59, while 72 per cent were male.

Fentanyl or one of its analogues were identified in about eight out of every 10 test results in 2024, often in combination with cocaine, methamphetamine and other substances, as nearly every unregulated drug death is the result of mixed drug toxicity, says the B.C. Coroners Service.

Cranbrook, at 67.7, had the highest death rate per 100,000 in the Kootenays in 2023.

April 14 marks the eight year since the province declared a public health emergency in response to the toxic drug crisis in 2016.

Since then, thousands of people have died due to the unregulated illicit drug supply.

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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