Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue and Emergency Health Services (ambulance) were notified and took over the medical care of the man after arriving on scene. Photo: File

Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue and Emergency Health Services (ambulance) were notified and took over the medical care of the man after arriving on scene. Photo: File

Man found dead on Trail riverbank, police suspect overdose

The man’s death is under investigation by the coroner, though RCMP suspect an illicit drug overdose

Police are confirming the sudden death of a Trail man found unresponsive on the riverbank last week.

While the cause of death is yet to be confirmed, the Trail police suspect the 56-year old died from an illicit drug overdose.

This case began in the early evening of Friday, July 22, after a Trail woman found the man face down and unresponsive in a pool of water along the bank of the Columbia River near Groutage Avenue.

The woman, and another person, pulled the man from the pool of water and began CPR in an attempt to revive him.

Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue and Emergency Health Services (ambulance) were notified and took over medical care of the man after arriving on scene.

As well, a frontline Trail and Greater District RCMP officer attended.

Sadly, the 56-year-old Trail man could not be revived despite a valiant effort.

Trail RCMP do not suspect foul play at this time; however, police suspect the man may have been under the influence of a illicit drug at the time of the incident.

The matter was referred to the BC Coroners Service.

Sgt. Mike Wicentowich thanks all persons at the scene for doing everything possible to try to save the man’s life.

“It was a heroic effort by all,” Wicentowich said.

This year saw the highest number of suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths ever recorded in the month of May, the province’s latest overdose data shows.

A report from the B.C. Coroners Service, released in mid-July, revealed 195 people died of suspected overdoses in May. That averages about 6.3 deaths per day.

May’s figure marked a 13 per cent increase over the deaths recorded in that month last year. It was also 20 per cent higher than April 2022’s count of 162.

Between January and May, at least 940 people died from toxic drug overdose, which is a record number for the first five months of a calendar year, according to the BC Coroners Service.

While fentanyl remains a significant concern, its presence is noted in 83 per cent of those who have died this year, officials are also watching for the presence of benzodiazepines, known as ‘benzos.’ As depressants — drugs which lower brain activity — this class of psychoactive drugs are prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures.

Another concerning trend is the presence of the benzodiazepine analogue etizolam, which has been found in the toxicology results of 40 per cent of people who’ve overdosed from illicit drugs.

It is a non-opioid sedative that doesn’t respond to naloxone, which creates “life-saving challenges for first responders” the coroners service reports.

Read more: Paramedic calls for drug overdose doubles in Greater Trail in 2021

Read more: Police warn of toxic drug supply after Trail man dies



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

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