Fraser Health issues warning after 36 overdoses in 48 hours in Surrey
Officials in Surrey, B.C., are warning people about potent illicit drugs after a jump in overdoses.
The Fraser Health authority said Saturday afternoon that there have been 36 reported overdoses in less than 48 hours.
None of the patients have died, but at least two people have been admitted to hospital.
“It is especially disturbing when we see such a large number of overdoses in a short period of time, and even more concerning when it requires significant amounts of naloxone to reverse them,” Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Victoria Lee said in a statement.
“Our message to people who use drugs is that there appears to be more lethal drug supply that is circulating.”
The patients are being tested to determine what substances are behind the overdoses. Many report to have been using crack cocaine, and some cases have shown cases of fentanyl.
The health authority is working with the RCMP in the area where many of the overdoses originated, warning people about the increase in overdoses and encouraging them to take precautions if they’re using illicit drugs.
Police officers and other first responders are also taking extra precautions, said Asst. Commissioner Bill Fordy with the Surrey RCMP.
“Drugs can also be cross-contaminated with these other products, which means even non-opiate users may succumb to an overdose,” he said.
News about the string of overdoses comes just days after the British Columbia coroner’s office released statistics showing there has been a spike in fatal overdoses this year.
Statistics from the coroner’s service show there were 371 deaths in the first six months of 2016, about a 74 per cent increase compared with the same period last year.
The Fraser Valley, which includes Surrey, had the highest death count at 114.
The coroners service said toxicology tests determined fentanyl was linked to about 60 per cent of the deaths, and was either used alone or in combination with other drugs
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