Greater Trail police confirm the man died at a private residence in Fruitvale on Friday night. (Black Press file photo)

Drug use suspected in death of Fruitvale man

Drug use is suspected in the death of a local man, 45, on Friday.

Cpl. Devon Reid confirmed the man died at a private residence in Fruitvale that evening, though the cause remains under investigation.

“Although a drug overdose is suspected, police do not suspect foul play,” Cpl. Reid told the Trail Times.

“We do not have any further details at this point and due to the nature of the investigation, the coroner’s office will be taking lead.”

The case adds to two incidents in November where a drug overdose is suspected to be the causal factor in the death of two local men.

All three investigations fall under the jurisdiction of the chief coroner’s office in Kelowna pending autopsy results.

The latest statistics reveal more than 1,200 people have died from illicit drug overdoses so far this year in B.C. -13 of those in the Kootenay Boundary, according to the BC Coroners Service.

Men continue to be the overwhelming majority of those who die of illicit opioid overdose related deaths. So far in 2017, 834 men have died, compared to 179 women.

The crisis has struck people ages 30-39 the hardest. There have been 291 deaths in that age bracket, compared to 250 for ages 40-49 and 198 for ages 50-59.

Nine out of 10 deaths occur when people are inside, with over half of those taking place in private homes.

Fentanyl continues to kill. The powerful painkiller was discovered in about one in five overdose deaths this year. According to the Canadian Border Security Agency, the amount of fentanyl seized in the first six months of 2017 is 70 per cent higher than the same period last year.

Earlier this month, the B.C. government announced it was creating a multi-tiered overdose emergency response centre, to better connect regional and local social workers, health authorities and other workers.

The centre will be made up of experts and full-time health staff at Vancouver General Hospital, with five regional teams implemented at each health authority.

With files from Katya Slepian, Black Press

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