Drug Overdose Deaths Climbing
Prince George, BC.- The BC Coroners Service has released details on the number of overdose deaths in this Province this year, and the number is alarming.Between January 1st of this year, and April 30th, there have been 256 deaths from illicit drug overdoses. That’s an increase of 82% from the 136 deaths which occurred in the same period last year.
Four of those deaths from illicit drug overdose occurred in Prince George.
Fentanyl is a key factor, as it was detected in 49% of the deaths that occurred from January to the end of March up from 32% detected in such deaths in all of 2015. The role of fentanyl in the deaths which occurred in April is not yet known as there is a one month lag in getting those test results.
Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe stresses the critical importance of illicit drug users having medical assistance or a support person nearby in the event of overdose. “Naloxone is now widely available in the province, including in some
pharmacies without a prescription, and can be administered by anyone trained to use it,” Lapointe said. “This administration is often extremely successful in preventing what would otherwise be a tragic opiate drug overdose death.”
Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more toxic than other opioids. The dose must be carefully monitored to avoid accidental overdose. This makes it particularly high risk for people who have never used opioids or for people who may mistakenly use fentanyl thinking it is something else.
Early Signs of Overdose:
- Severe sleepiness
- Slow heartbeat
- Trouble breathing
- Slow, shallow breathing or snoring
- Cold, clammy skin
- Trouble walking or talking
If these symptoms are present, call 9-1-1.