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

Ucluelet releases COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Part of the recovery plan involves deploying three district staff as COVID-19 Community Monitors

Tofino mayor urges “kindness” as tourism reopens

“Health and safety matters to everyone.”

Resorts in Tofino and Ucluelet prepare to reopen in June

“We need to get the tourist economy in our communities back up and running.”

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve plans limited reopening on June 4

The Park Reserve shut down on March 18 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Pacific Rim Hospice Society gifting free wellness “check-ins” to all West Coast residents

“This pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and it’s helpful for anybody just to have a soundboard.”

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

Most Read