Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Vancouver morgues 'frequently full'

Vancouver morgues have reached a point where they are “frequently full”, forcing health authorities to store bodies at funeral homes. The city's primary morgue is at Vancouver General Hospital. It has space for 70 bodies plus a small area set aside for police cases.

Authorities noted that fentanyl overdoses are largely to blame. There were 622 illicit drug-overdose deaths in B.C. during the first 10 months of 2016. That’s up from 510 during all of 2015 and 370 the previous year. Fentanyl has been detected in approximately 60 percent of deaths. The sharp increase in drug-overdose deaths has brought the province’s morgues to capacity.
Overdose numbers for November are expected shortly and likely will be bad. In late November, 7 overdose deaths were reported in 1 week on Vancouver Island alone.

Funeral parlours are being advised to stock naloxone kits to reverse possible overdoses among mourners at services or staff who handle bodies of overdose victims.