Naloxone can be used to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose. (File)

Naloxone can be used to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose. (File)

‘Ticking time bomb’: Revelstoke reacts to overdose report

There have been three overdoses since March

While some community leaders find the recent report on Revelstoke having the third highest overdose rate in the province devastating, it isn’t surprising.

“We knew this was coming. It’s been a ticking time bomb,” said Jill Zacharias, social development coordinator at the City of Revelstoke.

READ MORE: Revelstoke has third highest rate of overdose deaths in the province

According to data from the BC Coroners Service, since 2003 there have been 12 overdose deaths in Revelstoke, the majority of which have been in the last two years. There were six in 2018 and three since March of this year.

Of the nine deaths since 2018, six were male and three were female. All were between the ages of 30 to 69.

The BC Coroners Service said there are zero records of overdose deaths in Revelstoke prior 2003.

While the government has urged people to stay home since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to stem the spread of the virus, drug overdoses have flourished.

The province said 168 people have died from COVID-19 in B.C., compared to 554 for overdoses as of May 31 for 2020.

The vast majority of drug overdose deaths involve fentanyl.

The BC Coroners Service said 170 people died this May in B.C. from overdoses, which is the highest ever recorded in a single month.

READ MORE: B.C. records highest ever number of fatal overdoses in May with 170 deaths

READ MORE: Overdoses ‘sadly normalized’ in British Columbia: addictions minister

“The pandemic has worsened mental health because more people are alone,” said Zacharias. She said the people dying in Revelstoke from overdoses are not tourists, but live and work in Revelstoke.

Stacie Byrne is one of the coordinators behind the Revelstoke Community Opioid Dialogue project that aimed to start community conversation to remove stigmas surrounding substance use.

She said while there are many services in the city to help with drug use, more work needs to be done.

For one, Byrne said it would help if there was someone, like a public health nurse, working on the street.

“We’re not really going to where the people are. Instead, we’re relying on them coming to us for help.”

The Revelstoke Community Opioid Dialogue project ended last year.

READ MORE: Revelstoke Community Opioid Dialogue culmination of years of awareness work

While Mayor Gary Sulz said he found the coroner’s report disappointing, he is limited in what he could say to media due to his role as the community’s funeral director.

However, Sulz said the city is working on ways to combat the overdose crisis.

Judy Darcy, the minister of mental health and addictions, said in an interview last month that sadly overdose deaths have become routine to people in B.C.

Due to the social isolation of COVID-19, Zacharias said it’s now more important than ever to reach out to neighbours to make sure people are not alone.

She said the high overdose rate in Revelstoke is not the community’s failure, but a failure of Canadian society.

“People have mental health problems for a reason,” said Zacharias.

“Don’t be alone. If you need help, reach out to someone you trust,” Zacharias said.

Do you need help?

There are a list of health and community services available at

Community Connections: 250-837-2920 or e-mail:

Revelstoke Mental Health and Substance Use: 250-814-2241

BC Crisis Line: 1-800-suicide (784-2433)

Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789

Revelstoke Women’s Shelter: 250-837-1111

Revelstoke Alcoholics Anonymous: 250-837-1958

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. overdoses

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

Jenn and Josh McLafferty, Owners of Monashee Spirits, which distills a variety of vodka, gin, brandy, whiskey and liqueurs. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
UPDATE: Three more Revelstoke businesses close due to COVID-19 exposure

Ray’s Butcher shop, Monashee Distillery and La Baguette each had a staff member test positive

The angel tree is now up at CIBC. Pick up a tag and buy a gift for a child this holiday season. (Photo via Facebook/Amanda Cole)
Give a gift to someone in need in Revelstoke

CIBC and Community Connections angel tree is now up

Letter to the editor.
LETTER: New signs not a good use of RMI money

There are other more pressing things we need in Revelstoke

BC Transit is replacing older diesel buses in Revelstoke and the Shuswap with new light-duty gasoline buses. (Submitted/BC Transit)
BC Transit replacing buses in Revelstoke and Shuswap

The new light-duty buses will run on gasoline, replacing older diesel buses

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Garage in Kelowna burns to the ground, blaze deemed suspicious

Fire crews responded to the scene just after 4:30 p.m.

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

(Ty Hainsworth / Facebook)
No injuries after fire rips through South Okanagan fruit stand

A fruit stand caught fire Tuesday afternoon, closing Highway 97 for two hours

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

A major reconstruction project on 32nd Avenue is nearing completion and the road is now re-opened to traffic between 33rd Street and 35th Street. (City of Vernon photo)
ROAD REPORT: More roundabouts coming to North Okanagan

New intersection lights up Dec. 13, 30th Street paving delayed, PV Road completed in Vernon

In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, families stay at a temporary evacuation center at Catanduanes province, eastern Philippines, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, as Typhoon Goni hits the country. Families living near coastal towns have moved to evacuation centers as the strong typhoon makes landfall. (Philippine Red Cross via AP)
Okanagan community group organizes fundraiser for typhoon-hit Philippines

Over two million people have been affected by flooding, with about 500,000 forced to leave homes

Most Read