Tuesday, May 21, 2024

‘Increased risk’: Greater Victoria under drug poisoning and overdose advisory

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Overdoses are on the rise locally, prompting Island Health to issue another drug poisoning and overdose advisory for Greater Victoria.

The health authority posted a warning on Tuesday, May 25th, saying overdoses are increasing especially in Victoria, Sooke and the West Shore area.

It follows an advisory issued back in April and comes as BC’s toxic illicit drug crisis continues to take hold.

An estimated 165 British Columbians lost their lives in March due to drug toxicity, with nine of those deaths recorded in Victoria, according to the BC Coroners Service. 

Nine local families lost a loved one amid the ongoing crisis, pushing the province’s illicit drug death toll to more than 9,500 since January 2016.

“Friends, family and community members using opioids and stimulants face increased risk from both injection and inhalation,” said Island Health in the advisory.

Health experts ask those who witness someone overdosing to call 911 right away, stay with them and give one breath every five seconds and naloxone, if possible.

Island Health is also sharing strategies for safe use, including carrying naloxone, starting low and going slow, and staggering use with a friend. Mixing substances increase the risk of overdose, the health authority warns.

It urges drug users to use at a Local Overdose Prevention Service (OPS), such as The Harbour on Pandora Avenue or Rock Bay Landing on Ellice Street.

Unless extended, Greater Victoria’s advisory will be removed after seven days, with more tips to help prevent overdose and use more safely found online here.

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