Overdose Numbers Slip
Prince George, B.C. – There is some encouraging news on the fentanyl overdose crisis which has reached Prince George.
Dr. Andrew Gray, Northern Health Medical Health Officer for the Interior, says the number of overdose cases this past weekend have dropped to one third of what had been experienced two weeks ago. That’s not to say the crisis is over, but the decline is some positive news in what has been labeled a national health crisis.
Two weekends ago, the University Hospital of Northern B.C. received 12 overdose patients . All were successfully treated. The following weekend, that number slipped to eight cases, and this past weekend the number of cases dropped to four. “It does seem to be declining, but it is still higher than what we used to see” says Dr. Gray.
Typically, the hospital sees about one or two cases a week.
Dr. Gray says it isn’t clear if the decline is a result of the message getting out about the risk of fentanyl, or if the local supply has simply dried up “It’s really difficult to say, those explanations are probably contributing to a certain extent but we don’t have direct information on what the supply currently is and that’s not something we are able to monitor directly. As far as the word getting out, the word on the street does tend to get out pretty quickly regardless and we think people were already being as cautious as they could even before this this occurred, so it’s difficult to know for sure what the drivers are.”
Northern Health has advised those who use illicit drugs to take some precautions such as making sure they don’t use alone, by having naloxone on hand, by having someone on hand who can recognize the signs of overdose and intervene by calling 9-1-1 and performing CPR .
All emergency responders have been provided with naloxone and just last week, Prince George RCMP saved a life when they administered naloxone to an unresponsive male on a Chief Lake road property ( see previous story) .