01/27/2018 14:40 EST | Updated 01/30/2018 14:03 EST

B.C. health officials issue overdose alert following seven deaths

KELOWNA, B.C. — Health officials are urging B.C. residents to take extra caution when using drugs, following a string of suspected overdose deaths.

Interior Health says the BC Coroners Service has reported seven suspected fatal overdoses in the region between Jan. 23 and 26.

The exact causes of the deaths have not yet been confirmed, and the coroners service is investigating.

The health authority says people should reconsider taking drugs or take steps to prevent overdoses, such as not using alone and carrying a kit with the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone.

The latest figures from the coroners service show there were 1,208 illicit drug overdose deaths across the province between January and October last year.

The data shows the powerful opioid fentanyl was detected in about 83 per cent of those deaths.