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Just one overdose death in Northern BC for August

The overdose epidemic continues to batter BC, taking hundreds of lives, but it looks like the pendulum may finally be swinging in the right direction.

August saw a slight drop in death from overdose in BC, however 49 people still lost their lives.

“But perhaps the best news,” said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe, “is that for the first time this year, the total number of deaths in August was smaller than for the same month in 2015.”

And a glimmer of good news for Northern BC: just one death last month brought the region’s total on the year to 30.

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However across the province, Lapointe says fentanyl continues “to take an exceptional toll”

She says the most common fatality combination they see is fentanyl and cocaine, “and often times that’s people taking cocaine that have absolutely idea that it may contain fentanyl.”

Ten people have died from fentanyl in the City of Prince George alone, with another eleven people losing their lives across the rest of the Northern Health delivery area.

488 people have died from overdose in BC as of August 31st, a number trending miles above last year’s total of 505.

To push back against the wave of death, the province announced a public awareness campaign today featuring Leslie McBain, who lost her son to fentanyl.

“I urge everyone to arm themselves with information on the drug epidemic; take note of the public service announcements, research online, read the headlines and know what’s going on in your communities.”

She says addiction can hit just about anyones child.

Yesterday the province approved the College of Pharmacists of B.C. request to amend to deregulate and unschedule emergency use naloxone. The change will allow the life-saving overdose treatment to be sold at locations beyond pharmacies, such as health care sites, treatment centres and community agencies.

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