Three years after fentanyl starts smoking massively throughout the country, figures continue to tell a tragic story.
Forty-four people Kamloops died of overdoses of illicit drugs in 2016; 38 died in 2017 and 32 died at the end of September last year.
Before the opioid epidemic, Kamloops recorded between two and ten deaths per year.
"So, we have raised very high," said Dr. Karin Goodison, Internal Health Medical Specialist. "This trend has dramatically increased the appearance of fentanyl in the supply of drugs, drugs were added to poison and people were killed."
The data from the Special Advisory Committee on Opioid Overdose suggests that more than 9,000 Canadians died during the opioid crisis, from which data were sent in January 2016 until June 2018. Of the deaths reported in the first half of this period, 94 percent were accidental and nearly three quarters of those involved with fentanyl-related substances.
The Canadian Health Institute also points out that opioid hospitalization rates last year were 2.5 times higher in communities with populations ranging from 50,000 to 100,000, including Camlope, as compared to larger cities. Last year, opiates across the country were hospitalized on a daily basis for 17 people each day.
Kamloops show fourth place in the population of B.C. and the fifth in Canada with opioid-related visits to hospitals.
Goodison told B.C. is one of the most influential provinces and the statistics of BC Coroners Service show that from January to September of this year, 1143 people died from overdoses of illegal drugs. These figures "stabilize at an unacceptable rate," she said, causing more deaths than murders, motor vehicle accidents and suicide.
"It's a tragedy," said Goodison.
In his opinion, police officers can go so far as fentanyl is difficult to trace.
Goodison said prevention was essential, including offering safe choices, narrowing prejudices and providing treatment, counseling and support.
One problem associated with opioid dependence is that it changes the brain. The body craves opioids and also quickly loses its tolerance, which means that recurrence can be fatal.
© 2018 Kamloops This Week