Fentanyl overdose crisis

Island Health has extended an overdose advisory for several communities on Vancouver Island.

The health authority issued the advisory for Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox Valley and Campbell River on Thursday.

February and January marked the deadliest months for opioid-related deaths, respectively.

The advisory comes a week after the opioid-crisis marked its 5th anniversary.

In late March, a free service opened offering confidential drug checking in Victoria.

The storefront is part of an innovative harm reduction approach operated by the Vancouver Island Drug Checking project, started by a group of scientists from the University of Victoria.

The drug testing service is located at 1802 Cook Street and is open from 12 to 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

Island Health also offered these safe practices for safer use:

  • Visit your local Overdose Prevention Service (OPS).
  • Have your drugs checked at your local OPS
  • Carry Naloxone and have an overdose response plan
  • Do a tester; try a little before your regular hit
  • Fix with a friend; if alone, be close to help
  • Try the LifeguardApp on your phone www.lifeguarddh.com
  • Contact the National Overdose Response Service at 1-888-688-6677
  • Stagger your use with a friend, so someone can respond if needed

BC Emergency Health Services responded to 138 potential overdoses in the province yesterday the highest number of such calls ever.

Vancouver saw 45 calls, Surrey had 17, and Victoria received 10.

Island Health is suggesting people utilize Victoria’s overdose prevention services located at The Harbour (941 Pandora Avenue) and Rock Bay Landing (533 Ellice Street) and AVI (713 Johnson Street).

To search what harm reduction services are in your area, try this website: https://towardtheheart.com/site-finder.

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