Yukon has matched a grim record set last year for overdose deaths in the territory. The coroner’s service says toxic drugs have claimed the lives of 25 people since January 1st this year, the same toll for all of last year. Chief coroner Heather Jones says the crisis is affecting everyone in Yukon and people must remember to show compassion, kindness and support to anyone struggling with substance use. The coroner says 19 of the 25 deaths involved the powerful opioid fentanyl and the territory continues to lead the country with the highest per-capita illicit drug deaths.

An advocacy group is calling on the BC government and police to step up efforts to stomp out the illegal tobacco industry, saying the province is one of the worst in Canada for contraband. The Convenience Retailers Alliance 4 Safe Communities says its most recent studies indicate illegal tobacco is more than 30 per cent of BC’s market. The group says illegal cigarettes invite criminal activity into communities, puts tobacco in the hands of youth and hurts retail operators who are following the rules. Eric Gagnon, a vice-president with Imperial Tobacco Canada, says no one is going to cry because big tobacco is losing money, but governments across the country are also losing as much as two billion dollars a year in taxes.

Another case of avian flu has been reported in a commercial poultry farm in Chilliwack. A large swatch of the Fraser Valley — where many of B-C’s poultry farms are located –remains under a control zone in order to prevent the disease from spreading. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says almost 60 commercial poultry farms have been infected since mid-November in B-C and they remain under active status for the avian flu. The majority of the affected farms are in Abbotsford or Chilliwack, although some of the farms are in Langley Township and one of the commercial flocks is in Kent.

The RCMP say the driver of a pickup truck is dead after a police shooting in Creston. Mounties say it happened early Wednesday morning, when a Creston RCMP officer initiated a traffic stop on the truck parked in a driveway, and the driver reversed into the officer. The Mounties say the officer drew his gun and fired and the truck was found 10 minutes later in a ditch with the driver suffering a gunshot wound. The Independent Investigations Office says it has deployed officers to the scene and is seeking witnesses or any video footage that might help its investigation.

Surrey RCMP say the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is taking over the case of the disappearance of a 24-year-old man. The Mounties say the investigation has been turned over to the regional homicide team because they believe his disappearance is suspicious. They say in a news release that the man, who they don’t name, was reported missing on December 3rd, but was last seen on November 19th. Anyone with information is urged to call the I-HIT hotline.