Thursday, November 17, 2016

Vancouver police issue another warning after string of drug overdoses

Vancouver police have issued yet another warning after 11 non-fatal overdoses were reported in a single day in the city’s Downtown Eastside. The city’s supervised injection site saw 28 overdoses on Monday – none fatal.

There have been 622 fatal overdoses in B.C. so far this year, compared to 397 for the same period last year. Every day, on average, 2 more people will die. October's toll was 63, up from 57 the previous month. The coroner says fentanyl still remains a major contributor with 60 per cent of deaths attributed to the drug.
In Alberta 338 have died so far this year with fentanyl identified in 193 cases. Ontario has only released numbers for 2015, a year in which 529 people died of opiod overdose.

The ‘hodgepodge’ tracking leaves the true magnitude unknown. Governments in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario are moving ahead with exploring safe drug consumption sites in an effort to reduce the number of deaths. Health leaders have grown increasingly concerned and are finally addressing the fentanyl and opioid crisis from a health and harm reduction perspective. It takes more than 8 months to prepare a Health Canada application, let alone get approval. Health Minister Jane Philpott will host a conference in Ottawa to discuss the crisis.
The amount of fentanyl reaching Canada has skyrocketed over the last four months, with border officials seizing fentanyl 32 times at various ports of entry across the country from May until last Friday. Those seizures add up to 8.46 kg, enough to produce more than 8.4 million pills at an estimated potential street value of $169 million.