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Overdose drug deaths climb in Terrace

Only a portion of Vancouver ranks higher in deaths based on population
A toxic and illicit drug supply is increasing the number of drug overdose deaths in Terrace and area making the city rank second in the province per capita. (Black Press file photo)

Terrace ranks second in the province in drug overdose deaths when based on population, latest figures from the B.C. Coroners Service indicate.

For 2022, 25 people in Terrace and area died of overdoses or 110 people per 100,000 population.

Only a portion of Vancouver ranks higher in B.C. with 470 people per 100,000 population or 319 deaths.

Within B.C., the northwest ranks prominently among population centres reporting overdose deaths.

Of the 25 local health areas in B.C. recording the highest number of deaths per 100,000 population, Kitimat is listed as 10th and Prince Rupert is 14th.

There were seven overdose deaths in Kitimat in 2022 and 10 in Prince Rupert.

READ MORE: Health authority urges drug testing following surge in overdoses

Prince George is the only other centre in the north to make the Top 25 list at 79 deaths per 100,000 people or, in actual numbers, 84 deaths.

There were 2,272 suspected overdose deaths across B.C. in 2022.

In November and December of 2022 alone, the death rate worked out to 6.4 deaths a day.

Fully 79 per cent of those who died were male and 70 per cent of those who died were between 30 and 59 years old.

Terrace’s death rate of 110 people per 100,000 population was far greater than the provincial average of 44 people per 100,000 population in 2022.

And it is far and away greater than the 14 people per 100,000 people in 2017, figures from the coroners service show.

As far as locations where overdose deaths occur, 84 per cent in northern B.C. take place in a private or other residence while 14 per cent take place outside.

The BC Coroners Service uses the term illicit drug toxicity category to include heroin, cocaine, MDMA, methamphetamine, illicit fentanyl, prescription drugs meant for others and combinations of any of the above.

The federal government has agreed to a three-year pilot project in B.C. as of Feb. 1 to not charge people who have 2.5 grams of illicit drugs on their person.

That’s intended to encourage people to seek help by treating addiction as a medical condition and not a crime.

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About the Author: Rod Link

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