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Island Health extends warning after continued spike in overdoses

Public and drug users cautioned about stronger drugs

Island Health has extended an overdose advisory after an increase in overdoses over the past two weeks.

The health authority posted on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday extending the advisory put out on Aug. 8. The original advisory cautioned the public and drug users about a stronger supply of drugs on the Island.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria overdose numbers double

Dr. Dee Hoyana, a VIHA medical health officer, said there are on average four overdoses a week that are accounted for in Greater Victoria. That number has doubled in the past two weeks.

“We just want to caution people to be sage and prevent these kinds of things from happening,” Hoyana said.

The number of overdoses is based on accounts from overdose prevention sites, supervised consumption sites, ambulance information and people presenting signs at the hospital. However, the numbers may not be exact because people use drugs at home or don’t report overdoses as well.

After testing some drugs, Island Health found potent substances in them like carfentanil. However, the health authority cannot be certain if that is the exact drug causing a spike in overdoses.

READ ALSO: West Shore teen who died of suspected fentanyl overdose remembered as ‘kind’, ‘bubbly’

Some strategies for safer use according to Island Health are having substances checked, trying a little before taking a regular amount, using drugs with a friend around or close to help if alone, staggering use with friends so someone can respond if needed, carrying naloxone and having an overdose response plan, and visiting a local overdose prevention site.

For more information, visit this online resource guide.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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