Overdose alert issued after six deaths in Kamloops

Six overdose deaths were recorded in Kamloops between Feb. 15 and Feb. 26

  • Mar. 1, 2018 10:04 a.m.

— Kamloops this Week

The B.C. Coroners Office has asked for expedited testing of blood and urine after six overdose deaths were recorded in Kamloops between Feb. 15 and Feb. 26.

Coroner Andy Watson said the number of deaths was concerning, particularly given for all of 2017, Kamloops reported 40 illicit-drug overdoses.

RELATED: Penticton’s overdose death rate most likely tops Kelowna’s

Toxicology results normally can take several months to be completed, Watson said, due to the nature of the tests required and the number of tests ordered, an amount that has grown in recent years as the province battles an opioid overdose crisis.

Watson said there are a variety of ways coroners can use to immediately determine if drugs are involved, ranging from the obvious of a needle in an arm to the position of the body to what other witnesses may have to say. The testing would be to confirm the drugs involved in the deaths.

Because of the cluster, Watson’s office has advised Interior Health to issue an alert and remind people of cautions to take if they are using drugs.

A similar alert was sent out recently in Penticton, said Bob Hughes, executive director of ASK Wellness Centre, after the South Okanagan city recorded seven overdose deaths in eight days. Hughes said reports he has received indicate most of those deaths involved pre-loaded syringes with “some toxic substance.”

RELATED: A deadly year: 156 fatally overdose in Interior

He said he has heard similar syringes are in Kamloops, but has not been able to confirm such reports.

Hughes did say an experienced user contacted by ASK was found to have a substance that contained fentanyl and other ingredients.

Watson said he believes dealers, realizing the impact fentanyl is having on their customers, are looking at different methods to package drugs.

“They’re constantly adapting,” Watson said, adding he wonders how “someone can wake up every day and know they’re doing this.”

Hughes said he appreciates the work IH is doing and hopes the RCMP is as engaged in tracking the illicit drug trade, looking at the origins and destinations of contraband in an effort to predict where the next cluster of deaths might emerge.

Among the cautions IH has sent out are:

  • Don’t mix different drugs (including pharmaceutical medications, street drugs, and alcohol);
  • Don’t take drugs when you are alone. Use in the company of someone who can administer help or call 9-1-1 if you experience an overdose;
  • Keep an eye out for your friends; stay together and look out for each other;
  • Use less and pace yourself. Do testers to check strength. Take a small sample of a drug before taking your usual dosage;
  • Carry a Naloxone kit and know how to use it;
  • Recognize the signs of an overdose: slow or no breathing, gurgling or gasping, lips/fingertips turning blue, difficult to awaken or non-responsive;
  • Consider treatment options.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rockets drop close match to Everett Silvertips

The Rockets lose 3-1 to one of the WHL’s best

Infighting at Kelowna Yacht Club makes it to court

Marc Whittemore, a local lawyer and prominent member of the club, filed a notice of civil claim Feb. 1

Okanagan College basketball wraps up regular season

Coyotes’ squads will finish the season with two games against Capilano

Death Café returns to Okanagan

Vernon, Kelowna and Summerland events toast touchy subject

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Expect delays on Highway 1 west of Golden due to vehicle fire

Expect delays while driving Highway 1 between Golden and Revelstoke. Drive BC… Continue reading

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Semi loses control on Highway 97A in Shuswap

Slippery roads contribute to crash of transport truck carrying tires

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Syrian refugee responds to racism in Canada

Guest columnist Mustafa Zaqrit

Lower Mainland boy shot with pellet gun

Surrey RCMP believe Cloverdale pellet gun incidents are ‘linked’

Most Read