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

Company with Nanaimo lab gets federal approval for psychedelic drug research

Numinus’ CEO says company seeing a shift in how people look at mental health treatment

Library takes Summer Reading Club online

Children, teens, parents in Nanaimo can participate in online reading challenges and events

More than 100 apartments for seniors approved in Nanaimo’s hospital area

Development permit issued for 1125 Seafield Cres.

Outreach team making connections with young people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre youth advisory council initiative offers ‘no-barrier’ help downtown

Alzheimer’s society offering online support for caregivers in Nanaimo

Webinars explore ‘mindfulness’ in caring for dementia patients

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Nanaimo RCMP want speeding motorists to ‘slow the blazes down’

Police raise alarm after seeing 400-per cent rise in excessive speeding tickets last month

City of Nanaimo takes inventory of its land for official community plan review

Report recommends high-density residential development, identifies shortage of industrial land

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIU faculty members looking at COVID-19 impacts on communities

Vancouver Island University’s research award committee funds nine projects

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Most Read