Spike of potential drug ODs on Kelowna’s party weekends

There were 30 potential overdoses two years in a row that week

Kelowna paramedics are dealing with a high volume of overdose calls during the city’s biggest party weekends.

Between July 23 and 29, paramedics were called to 30 potential overdose scenes, said Shannon Miller, communications officer for BC Emergency Heath Services. On average an average week, there are 20 potential overdose calls in Kelowna.

Narrowing down the timeframe for ODs further, Miller said that calls spiked on the July 27 weekend, where 17 total potential overdose calls were made— six calls were made on the Friday alone.

One suspected reason for the rise in ODs is the Center of Gravity festival which, on that same weekend, opened the flood gates for club kids who make their way to the Okanagan to dress up, dance, and potentially indulge in any number of substances.

Last year as it unfolded in the city there was a similar spike of potential OD calls with nine made on the opening day. The overall number of OD calls also reached 30 during the same week.

The difference between the two weekends, however, comes down to the death of a teenager at this year’s event.

Adison Davies, 16, died during the Friday of the event. That drugs were involved with the Kamloops girl’s death was confirmed by her friend Sam Thacker, who said she is one of two people he knows to have purchased the methamphetamine known as Molly and overdose.

Thacker told a Kamloops this Week reporter a friend of his said he and Davies had obtained some drugs at the festival.

“A few hours later, he was shaking and he came over to me and said, ‘I need help. I need help,’” Thacker said.

Thacker and others got the friend to the first-aid tent, where a team of doctors, nurses and paramedics went to work immediately. An ambulance was stationed nearby.

“They hit him with something,” Thacker said, likely an injection of Naloxone, which is used to temporarily reverse an overdose from opioids. His friend is heavier and stronger, which Sam suspects helped the teen react positively to the medical intervention.

A short time later he saw Davies being carried into the medical tent by two paramedics.

When asked for comment from Live Nation about a spike of overdoses on COG weekend, they re-issued the comment about Davies.

“Center of Gravity organizers can confirm that a female was treated onsite by BCEHS and the festival medical team on July 27 before being transported by ambulance to Kelowna General Hospital where she passed away. We are currently cooperating with local authorities as they investigate the situation. Our deepest condolences for the family and friends affected.”

While there may be some symetry when it comes to local call spikes and party events, Kelowna is not the only city that fared poorly that weekend and the issue gained the attention of the premier.

“To think that happened 130 times last week on one day is staggering for the public and speaks to the amount of work we have to do to get this scourge out of our cities and out of our province,” Premier John Horgan said to Canadian Press. “With respect to the timing of this latest rash of overdoses, it strikes me these numbers are unprecedented, and our job is to make sure we’re doing more in the days ahead.”

Related: GoFundMe set up for teen who died at COG

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran could not be reached for comment before publication about whether the city is aware of a link between a potential rise in OD calls on party weekends or not.

BC Emergency Health Services has projected that in Kelowna we will surpass the 1,000 calls for overdoses once again this year, in 2017 there were 1,040, in 2016 there were 785 and in 2015 there were 502.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@sydneyrmorton
sydney.morton@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

x
Morning Start: Bubble wrap was originally intended to be wallpaper

Your morning start for Monday, Oct. 26, 2020

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Central Okanagan students elect Green, NDP MLAs in mock vote

Students across B.C. would’ve elected a NDP majority with the Greens forming the official opposition

Kelowna Secondary School. (SD23 photo)
One case of COVID-19 identified at Kelowna Secondary School

Interior Health will follow up directly with those who may have been exposed to the virus

Kelowna West MLA elect Ben Stewart addresses a small gathering of campaign supporters at the West Kelowna Yacht Club, shortly after hearing of his riding victory on Oct. 24, 2020. (Photo - Phil McLachlan)
Despite NDP majority, Kelowna remains Liberal stronghold

As several ridings in the Lower Mainland fell to the BC NDP, the BC Liberals retained three Kelowna seats

McCleave is eight years old.
AlleyCats pet of the week

Meet McCleave and Nyx

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

BC NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu offered praise to her team of volunteers (pictured Oct. 21), following a too-close race with BC Liberal and incumbent Eric Foster in the 2020 provincial election Oct. 24. The outcome will be dependent on the final count from mail-in ballots expected in three weeks. (Facebook)
‘Every vote counts’ in tight Vernon-Monashee race: NDP Harwinder Sandhu

Incumbent BC Liberal Eric Foster finishes election night with slim lead

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO)
UPDATE: One dead after Highway 97A crash near Armstrong, police watchdog investigating

The crash happened as RCMP attempted to stop an alleged stolen vehicle

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Most Read