FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – August 31 to September 4 has been declared overdose awareness week in the City.

The Fort St. John Community Action Team and Healthy FSJ made the request for the proclamation and during the week, will honour front line-workers and those who have lived with the experience of the opioid crisis. They hope to reduce the stigma against addiction and overdose deaths.

The Fort St. John Salvation Army will hold a socially distanced community lunch on August 31, 2020. The City will also light up Centennial Park in purple to help recognize overdose awareness week. August 31, is International Overdose Day.

Fort St. John has already seen 11 deaths in 2020, compared to 11 in 2019, 21 in 2018 and 30 in 2017.

In June, there were 175 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in B.C. This represents a 130% increase over the number of deaths seen in June 2019

The number of deaths in each health authority is at or near the highest monthly total ever recorded. Northern Health has the second-highest death rate in B.C. at 32 deaths per 100,000 people. Vancouver Coastal has the highest rate at 33 per 100,000.

The Province of B.C. will release information about the number of deaths in B.C. for July on Tuesday.