Campbell River’s Toxic Drugs Crisis Is Getting Scarier Than Ever

‘Overdoses are increasing,’ warns public health authority.

Via Government of British Columbia FB page, via Toward the Heart: A Project of BC's Provincial Harm Reduction Program FB page, via Vancouver Fire Fighters FB page.

People in Campbell River and Comox Valley were cautioned this week to watch out for toxic street drugs.

The warning came in a drug poisoning and overdose advisory issued by Island Health, which said that “overdoses are increasing”.

Island Health, via Island Health FB page.

These communities are the latest of many B.C. communities to receive poison drug alerts recently. Record numbers of overdose deaths continue to rise throughout all of B.C.

Last year in Campbell River alone, 26 people died after taking street drugs, the B.C. Coroner’s Service reported earlier this year.

Vancouver Fire Fighters, via Vancouver Fire Fighters FB page.

“That’s 26 people that were children once, 26 people that have kids of their own, have parents, families, have friends, social networks, co-workers,” Gwen Donaldson, coordinator for the Campbell River Community Action Team, told the Campbell River Mirror, when the report came out. “The ripple effect of 26 people who are no longer in our community is quite dramatic.” 

International Overdose Awareness Day, via the International Overdose Awareness Day FB page.

“The drugs are so toxic,” she said. “People are not overdosing, they are being poisoned by the supply. It’s just incredibly contaminated.”

The cause of the rise in overdoses “is the growing toxicity and unpredictability of the street supply of drugs,” according to an expert Death Review Panel earlier this year,  The panel called for an immediate “specific focus on the toxic drug supply.”

BC / Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors, via BC / Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors FB page.

If someone overdoses, says the advisory, call 9-1-1 immediately and stay with the person, provide rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth), and administer naloxone, a drug that can reverse an opiod overdose.

For more life-saving information, check community advisories in your area for tips and local contacts. Find more information at the B.C. government site on substance abuse

St. John Ambulance BC/ Yukon, via St. John Ambulance BC/ Yukon FB page.

B.C. has been under an official public health emergency for substance abuse since April, 2016.

Illicit drug toxicity is the leading cause of unnatural death in B.C., according to the B.C. Coroner’s Service.

Toward the Heart: A Project of BC’s Provincial Harm Reduction Program, via Toward the Heart: A Project of BC’s Provincial Harm Reduction Program FB page.

Understanding the causes and finding long-term solutions are complex, said the recent expert panel. Last year 2,224 people died of drug overdoses. Since then, monthly overdose deaths have increased.

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