While B.C. overdose deaths soar, Princeton made a recovery in 2020

Between 2018 and 2020, eight Princeton residents died of suspected overdose.

Princeton has seen a 22 per cent drop in drug overdose fatalities in 2020. (File photo)

Princeton has seen a 22 per cent drop in drug overdose fatalities in 2020. (File photo)

In a year marked by the largest loss of life due to drug overdoses in B.C., Princeton saw a reduction in fatalities.

The province records 1,716 people lost to overdose, in a report recently released by the BC Coroner’s office detailing the statistics of 2020.

That amounts to a 74 per cent increase over the previous year.

“The impacts of COVID-19 highlighted the immensely precarious situation of those experiencing problematic substance use in our province,” chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said during a news conference.

“It’s clear that urgent change is needed to prevent future deaths and the resulting grief and loss so many families and communities have experienced across our province.”

Yet Princeton, a community that has led the province in drug related deaths per capitafor at least two years, had some relief, experiencing a 22 per cent drop in fatalities.

RELATED: Princeton suffers highest per capita rate of drug deaths: Coroner report

Between 2018 and 2020, eight Princeton residents died of suspected overdose.

That still lands the town on the ‘top 15’ of community deaths per the population metric. Hope, Vancouver and Keremeos made the tragic podium, with Princeton coming in sixth.

“Well I’m happy our numbers are down,” said Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne. “But any overdose is too many. We still have a long way to go dealing with mental health issues in town. COVID has put a lot of stress on mental health services.”

Coyne said any progress made on the problem likely comes from several directions. Town council was instrumental in securing the return of services from the South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS).

The organization visits Princeton every Friday afternoon with a bus full of harm reduction supplies and the offer of counselling.

As well, harm reduction supplies are available for free at the public health unit, located in the same building as Princeton General Hospital.

Coyne said a factor in Princeton’s recovery rate could be the Naloxone-use training that was made available for first responders, business owners, and organizations in 2019 and early 2020.

“We had training for just about everyone. Kits were made available everywhere and I still have one on my desk here.”

RELATED: Another Princeton family devastated by drug death

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:mailto:andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com


 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
Kootenay-Columbia MP pans federal budget

Conservative Rob Morrison says budget doesn’t have a plan for long-term spending priorities

A view of the Jordan River from the trail in the area, during the summer. There are two new gravel pits up for consideration by the province. The area is deemed to be ecologically sensitive. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
LETTER: When did Revelstoke become gravel pit central?

Two new gravel pits are being proposed near the Jordan River

Photo: pixabay.com
Morning Start: Why do dogs like squeaky toys?

Your morning start for Tuesday, April 20, 2021

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Kate Budau’s flat tire outside of Glenmore Elementary School on Monday. (Contributed)
Kelowna mom searches for Good Samaritans who helped her change a tire

Woman looking for two dads who helped her after her tire popped in the Glenmore Elementary School drop-off area on Monday

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Most Read