City of Vancouver reports 5 overdose deaths in one week, warns of carfentanil presence

Civilian volunteers in the DTES attend to another overdose.

As the City of Vancouver continues to grapple with the overdose crisis, the city reports five people died on the week of June 12 alone.

It was a week that also saw an increase in drug-related calls to the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service at 112 compared to 95 the week before.

“Four British Columbians die every day from overdoses, yet the crisis barely warranted a mention in yesterday’s Throne Speech,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement.

READ MORE: Vancouver Mayor says they’re ‘desperate’ to stop overdose death toll

“We need a provincial government with a bold, tenacious approach and the courage to dramatically improve prevention, education and addictions treatment, with dedicated resources into opioid substitution therapy, treatment on demand, and other essential services for everyone who needs it, when they need it.”

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READ MORE: B.C. drug users, health professionals meet in Vancouver to discuss solutions to overdose epidemic

Even more alarming? Officials say carfentanil – which is far deadlier than fentanyl – appears to be in circulation.

LifeLabs is reporting a 21 per cent carfentanil positivity rate in patient urine samples containing fentanyl.

That’s a significant jump from the six to eight per cent seen in February and March.

READ MORE: At least 2,458 Canadians died from opioid-related overdoses in 2016: PHAC

With files from Charmaine de Silva

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