Jodi Higgs (right) holds a vial of naloxone and Christine Christensen holds a kit in the parking lot of the Pacific Community Resources Society on Thursday, May 20, 2021. The society offered a number of events, workshops and videos this year to help educate friends and family members who have loved ones that are drug users. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Jodi Higgs (right) holds a vial of naloxone and Christine Christensen holds a kit in the parking lot of the Pacific Community Resources Society on Thursday, May 20, 2021. The society offered a number of events, workshops and videos this year to help educate friends and family members who have loved ones that are drug users. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

TOP STORIES 2021: Opioid crisis in Chilliwack deadlier than ever

Chilliwack had already lost record-high number 46 souls to drug overdose by end of October

The year 2021 was barely underway when a sober warning for Chilliwack went out from Fraser Health about a green-blue coloured street drug believed to contain carfentanil.

Carfentanil is about 100 times more deadly than fentanyl. Both are what they mean when they talk about B.C.’s “toxic supply” responsible for so many overdose fatalities.

Even those with high tolerance were overdosing due to the turquoise “down,” according to the rare warning issued from Fraser Health on Jan. 21. Those who used substances in Chilliwack were urged to seek supervised sites, or a buddy.

In February Chilliwack city council began work on creating a P7 zone, to create a framework for overdose prevention sites (OPS) within the City of Chilliwack before any zoning applications came in. The P7 zone would regulate “specialized medical services” which were defined as, but not limited to: “overdose prevention sites, detoxification centres and needle distribution/return facilities.”

Kim Lloyd, program supervisor with Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS) in Chilliwack, shows people how to administer naloxone during a free “friends and family” naloxone training workshop at Chilliwack Health and Housing Centre on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Kim Lloyd, program supervisor with Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS) in Chilliwack, shows people how to administer naloxone during a free “friends and family” naloxone training workshop at Chilliwack Health and Housing Centre on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

“Creating a new zone to prepare for future zoning requests is something council has done successfully in the past,” Mayor Ken Popove said at the time, mentioning the C9 zone created for cannabis retail zoning.

April 2021 marked five years that provincial officials declared the overdose crisis a public health emergency in B.C., but overdoses deaths continue unabated rising each year.

When the pandemic was in full swing last year and places started shutting down, Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS) officials started working on a video series, The Hidden Crisis, to talk about stigma and shame that led to so many people dying at home alone.

Recovering addict Mike Kappeler was the voice of one of The Hidden Crisis videos released by Pacific Community Resources Society. He later created a video series himself called Recovery Life focusing on the positive side of recovery in an addict’s or alcoholic’s life. He is seen here in downtown Chilliwack on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Recovering addict Mike Kappeler was the voice of one of The Hidden Crisis videos released by Pacific Community Resources Society. He later created a video series himself called Recovery Life focusing on the positive side of recovery in an addict’s or alcoholic’s life. He is seen here in downtown Chilliwack on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A three-part video series on overdose prevention was created to counter the stereotype to explain that the vast majority of fatalities happen at home, not on the street.

It’s the “hidden population” of users and their loved ones that Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS) in Chilliwack is targeting with the videos, said Jodi Higgs, manager of Chilliwack Health and Housing Centre, which is part of PCRS.

Seventy-one per cent of the people who died this year were between the ages of 30 and 59, while 79 per cent were male.

Halfway through the year it was clear Chilliwack was once again heading toward a record year in terms of drug overdose deaths.

RELATED: 6 months of stats made it clear 2021 was a bad year

There were 30 OD fatalities reported in Chilliwack in the first six months of the year, according to the B.C. Coroners Service report. That terrible tally to the end of June 2021 put Chilliwack at number seven in B.C. in terms of the “top townships of injury” due to illicit drug toxicity deaths.

It was especially high given that there were 35 OD-related fatalities in all of 2020 in Chilliwack.

The grim tally of overdose deaths in Chilliwack, and across B.C., was higher than ever, according to the data released by the BC Coroners Service, and Chilliwack alone lost 46 souls to overdose by the end of October.

That was an all-time record of lost lives for Chilliwack, with two months left to go in 2021.

The toxic drug supply in B.C. had claimed another 201 lives by Oct. 31, 2021, and seven of those were in Chilliwack, for a terrible toll of 1,782 lives in the first 10 months of the year.

It’s clear the deadly overdose crisis continues apace, despite weather disasters and the pandemic, with no signs of slowing down.

RELATED: 2021 started with a warning

RELATED: Council created special OD prevention zone

RELATED: Grim milestone by end of October

2021 Year in Reviewopioid crisisoverdose crisis