OUR VIEW: Good work is being done in Surrey on drug overdose front

A made-in-Surrey solution to help save drug overdose victims likely saved some lives this week

A made-in-Surrey solution to help save drug overdose victims likely saved some lives this week. Health authorities learned of a spike in overdoses in the city — at least eight in four hours Tuesday — thanks to a tracking tool operated by the Surrey fire department. Cellphone alerts were sent out targeting drug users and those who work in prevention.

The program was launched last June and its success is drawing the attention of health officials in North America.The technology collects real-time data through dispatch calls, tracking overdose “clusters” and warns emergency service when a bad batch of opioids hits the street. If in any four-hour period three over overdoses happen within a square kilometre it’s flagged, an alert is sent to senior officers in the fire department and the chief medical health officer of Fraser Health, and help is on the way.

READ ALSO: Surrey overdose spike caught by fire department ‘cluster’ tracker

Those who developed this program and make it work deserve praise. Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis told the Now-Leader “it could only be better if we could get in front of overdoses to prevent it” and said he and Terry Waterhouse, the city’s director of public safety strategies, are working with statistical and demographic information that may be able to do that.

We will be watching for this with great interest.



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