Fraser Health and Surrey RCMP are issuing a warning to people who use drugs following a dramatic increase in the number of overdoses in the last 24 hours.
“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,” said Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Victoria Lee. “Our message to people who use drugs is that there appears to be more lethal drug supply that is circulating.”
While none of the patients have died thus far, two have been admitted to hospital and all have required significantly more naloxone to treat them. Patients have been tested to determine the type of substance(s) responsible for overdoses.
“We know that the presence of substances which are 50-1000 times more toxic than other narcotics can increase the risk of overdose,” said Asst. Commissioner Bill Fordy, Lower Mainland District Commander. “Drugs can also be cross-contaminated with these other products, which means even non-opiate users may succumb to an overdose. Our police officer and other first responders are also having to take extra precautions.”
To people who use drugs, and their friends and families:
- If you are using drugs, have a buddy you can trust with you who is sober, able to recognize the signs of an overdose, and willing to call for medical help if you need it
- If you are using drugs alone, tell someone before you use, leave the door unlocked and have someone check on you
- If you are using drugs, know your tolerance. Use less drug than before if you are also taking certain prescription medications (they can impact the body’s ability to process the drugs) and/or you are using after a period of time of non-use
- If you are using drugs, we strongly advise you not to mix drugs and alcohol. Mixing opioids with downers or opioids with uppers puts you at higher risk of overdose. If you do mix drugs and alcohol, use the drugs first before the alcohol.
- The street quality of substances is unpredictable. If you are using drugs, do testers, go slow, and try to use a consistent reliable dealer.
Both Surrey RCMP and Fraser Health are doing outreach in the area of 135A, where many of the overdoses originated, warning people about the increased number of opiate overdoses. RCMP and Fraser Health are reaching out to neighbouring jurisdictions to ensure authorities there are aware of the threat.