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Yukon Coroner reports 14 opioid-related deaths since January

“Our communities are in pain.”
Yukon’s Chief Coroner Heather Jones addresses the media during a press conference in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory on April 22, 2021. (Submitted)

The Yukon Coroner’s Service is reporting 14 deaths from opioid use since the start of 2021.

“As these numbers continue to grow, so too does the burden of grief and unimaginable losses felt throughout our communities. We have seen, many times now, that no part of our society is unaffected,” said chief coroner Heather Jones.

“The hope continues that we will all take the time to listen and really hear what these deaths are telling us. May we find the wisdom and compassion to support well thought-out initiatives and to embrace struggling individuals; and together confront this continuing crisis.

“Our communities are in pain,” she finished.

The coroner’s last update was in April, when seven deaths were reported. That means an additional seven people have died in the past four months.

In the past five years 47 people have died due to illegal opioid use, with 83 per cent of those deaths involving fentanyl. A further 10 people have died as a result of non-opioid drug overdoses during that time period.

The coroner’s update noted that deaths from overdoses are on the rise. In 2019, there were four opioid overdose deaths investigated, followed by 10 in 2020 and already having surpassed that in 2021.

(Haley Ritchie)