Urgent plea to drug users: please don’t do it alone

Seven Vancouver Island deaths in seven days and a fresh batch of social services cheques have health providers on high alert for the weekend

Island Health is warning all drug consumers to not use without having help close at hand after seven overdose deaths on the Island in past week

The body count has been edging forward so relentlessly some observers may becoming numb to the toll.

Not Island Health.

In the wake of seven overdose deaths on Vancouver Island in a week and four in less than 72 hours, the health authority has this afternoon issued an urgent message to drug consumers: Avoid using alone.

With social service cheques arriving in time for a weekend wave of getting high, health officials are on high alert.

Inject, inhale, snort, smoke, or swallow: it doesn’t matter how you are ingesting your drugs. If you are consuming, do it with someone willing and able to get help if something goes wrong.

“The drugs on the street are more potent and dangerous than they have ever been before,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick said.

According to Stanwick, it’s not just the hardcore addict that needs to take care.

“While vulnerable, street-entrenched individuals are still very high risk for overdoses, we are finding that recent overdose deaths involve individuals who are in housing, whether that be a private residence or publicly-funded housing facilities, including shelters,” Stanwick said.

“These individuals need to know they are at significant risk of overdose, especially if they use alone.”

The total deaths reported by the B.C. Coroners Service had reached 622 by the end of October, up markedly from the 397 deaths in the same 10 months of 2015.

Island Health offers the following strategies can reduce the risk:

• Avoid using alone; fix with a friend

• Try a small amount of new drugs first

• Stagger use with friends so someone can respond if needed

• Avoid using more than one drug at a time (stacking drugs increases risk of overdoses and contributes to more severe overdoses)

• Carry and use naloxone and have an overdose response plan

• Be close to help

If someone overdoses:

• Call 9-1-1 immediately

• Provide rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth)

• Administer naloxone

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Police to work with integrated teams during transition from RCMP

Terry Waterhouse says new police force will ‘collaborate’ with RCMP to maintain continuity of investigations

Solicitor General has ‘no illusions’ about acrimony over Surrey’s police transition

Farnworth wants report released to public ‘a week this coming Tuesday’

Dubai-based company buys Fraser Surrey Docks

Company also has ports and terminals in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Prince Rupert

OUR VIEW: Surrey politicians’ absence speaks volumes

Nobody wants their input to be met with silence or indifference

Delta Hockey Academy wins WHL U.S. Challenge Cup

Canadian youth teams dominated the inaugural tournament last weekend in Kent, Wash.

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Aspiring entrepreneurs invited to pitch ideas at Dragons’ Den auditions

Abbotsford and Vancouver the only Lower Mainland try-out locations

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

Most Read