Overdose spike in Whalley

Ten people on The Strip – five times the typical number – required life-saving Narcan over the weekend after using opioids.

It was a chaotic weekend in Whalley, where there were five times the number of opioid overdoses on Saturday and Sunday than are typically seen.

On 135A Street, known as The Strip, 10 people had to receive life-saving Naloxone (Narcan) to prevent death from opioid overdoses. Service providers say it’s a dark sign given the timing.

This Wednesday is known as Welfare Wednesday, when people living on the street typically receive their monthly social assistance cheques. Historically, drug overdoses go up on that day.

Given the spike Nov. 19-20, service providers are worried there may be many more to come as pay day approaches.

“This one could be heavy duty,” one service provider told The Leader.

The news comes as the B.C. Coroners Service announced stark figures on drug overdoses for the province, – largely caused by the deadly narcotic fentanyl, a drug 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

In October, overdoses claimed another 63 lives across B.C., the highest monthly death toll since April.

The total deaths reported by the B.C. Coroners Service now stands at 622 for the year up to the end of October, up markedly from the 397 deaths in the same 10 months of 2015.

The powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl continues to be linked to approximately 60 per cent of fatalities this year – 332 cases in all to date or three times as many as the same period last year.

More than one-third of the total overdose deaths this year – 211 – have happened in the Fraser Health region, compared to 147 in Vancouver Coastal, 120 on Vancouver Island and 108 in the Interior.

The top cities where deaths have occurred so far this year are Vancouver (124), Surrey (76), Victoria (51), Kelowna (37), Kamloops (31), Abbotsford (28) and Maple Ridge (24).

Two overdose deaths occurred in White Rock this past weekend, and police say one is confirmed connected to fentanyl. Staff Sgt. Daryl Creighton said both victims were male.

The first man died shortly before 11 a.m. on Saturday. Creighton said a surviving user told police the pair believed the substance they were taking was a combination of heroin and cocaine.

The second man – described as a suspected heroin user – died early Monday morning, and fentanyl is suspected, Creighton said.

A multi-prong response strategy has been underway since the province declared a public health emergency in April and created a dedicated task force in July.

Efforts include making naloxone much more widely available to reverse overdoses in progress.

The strategy also aims to block fentanyl production and distribution, increase harm-reduction options, foster greater public education and increase the number of addiction recovery beds.

Officials from B.C. will attend a federal opioid conference in Ottawa starting Friday to explore strategies to counter overdose deaths. That comes a day after Premier Christy Clark leads a delegation to Ottawa to meet federal officials on other potential government actions.

Vancouver Coastal Health has applied for federal approval of two new supervised drug consumption sites, with three more in the works, while Island Health is seeking public feedback ahead of an application for sites in Victoria.

~ with files from Jeff Nagel and Tracy Holmes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey soccer team wins national title for teammate Bassi, killed in car crash last spring

‘It meant the world to us to win it for him,’ says team manager/coach

RCMP shoot dog in South Surrey after it charges officer

Member of the public not seriously injured after dog bite

South Surrey mother leads team of women to build homes in El Salvador

Kelley McNamara and her daughter are to help build a dozen homes in three days

Donation allows Peace Arch Hospital to buy new ventilator

TB Vets donate $73,000 to hospital foundation

Paul Bennett honoured at Peace Arch Hospital Foundation awards

Cloverdale man, murdered in June 2018, was one of a number of people to be honoured

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

VIDEO: Townhouse fourth Maple Ridge blaze in less than a day

UPDATE: Fire victims have much to be thankful for, despite loss of pets on Thanksgiving Day

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

Most Read