Surge in overdose deaths Friday prompts Interior Health alert

By Vanessa Ybarra
October 28, 2017 - 12:33pm

KAMLOOPS — Interior Health is urging people using or considering using drugs to take extra caution after a significant spike in overdose deaths Friday in the Lower Mainland.

Of those deaths, three men and two women died in the span of nine hours in Abbotsford.

Health officials say the increase may be an indication that more lethal illicit drugs are present in Interior Health.

While not using drugs is the best way to avoid overdose and other health impacts, Interior Health has issued the following tips to increase a person's safety

  • Don’t mix different drugs (including pharmaceutical medications, street drugs, and alcohol)
  • Don’t take drugs when you are alone. Leave door unlocked. Tell someone to check on you.
  • Use less and pace yourself. Do testers to check strength - take a small sample of a drug before taking your usual dosage.
  • Keep an eye out for your friends – stay together and look out for each other.
  • Carry a Naloxone kit and know how to use it. A list of locations to get a kit can be found on the Interior Health website.    
  • Recognize the signs of an OD:  Slow or no breathing, gurgling or gasping, lips/fingertips turning blue, difficult to rouse (awaken), non-responsive. 
  •  If someone thinks they may be having an overdose or is witnessing an overdose, follow the SAVE ME steps and call 9-1-1 immediately, do not delay.

Interior Health's mobile overdose prevention site is located at Ask Wellness on the North Shore.

The latest data from the BC Coroner's Service shows Kamloops is on pace to exceed its overdose death total from last year.

32 people died in the city due to illicit drug overdoses from January to the end of August this year.

The province-wide total has now exceeded 1,000 at 1,013.

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