Kelowna's fatal overdoses peaking in early 2018

Illicit drug overdoses killed 13 people in Kelowna in the first three months of the year.

That's according to numbers from the BC Coroners Service, which has released details on the first quarter of 2018.

Of the 13 deaths between January and the end of March, nine were a result of fentanyl.

The numbers show that the number of overdose deaths are starting to decrease across the province.

After the number of overdose deaths hit an all-time high last year, statistics from this year have dialed back to levels seen in 2016.

That year, the City of Kelowna saw 49 overdose deaths, with 38 due to fentanyl.

This year, Kelowna is on pace to see 52 deaths, with fentanyl responsible for 36.

As a comparison, there were 75 over the course of a record-breaking 2017.

Fentanyl was the cause of 69% of this year's fatal overdoses, compared to 90% last year.

Across BC, the Coroners are reporting 161 deaths in the month of March.

That's actually 24% higher than March last year, and 58% higher than the number recorded this past February.

The Coroners also report that with the high number of deaths last year, predictable patterns emerged.

On weeks where government welfare cheques were paid out, there were nearly six deaths per day in BC.

That number dropped to an average of 3.6 per day on the other days of the month.

FInally, the Coroners report that 61% of this year's deaths happened inside a private home, while only 8% happened outside in public.