To the point

A drug user holds a needle in downtown Penticton. 

Nine overdose deaths recorded in Penticton in the first half of 2019 have placed the city into unenviable company.

The statistics, released this week by the B.C. Coroners Service, show Penticton had one more overdose death than Coquitlam the same number as New Westminster.

Only 12 other communities in B.C. recorded higher death tolls than Penticton and New Westminster.

As it stands, Penticton is now on track to exceed the record overdose death toll of 15 set in 2018.

Across B.C., however, the number of drug-related deaths is decreasing.

Coroners reported 73 such deaths in June 2019, down from 113 in June 2018.

Males accounted for 78% of all victims, and 71% of them were between the ages of 30 and 59.

Fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid, was detected in 83% of the cases.