Unfortunately, it is a harsh reality for many first responders to get several overdose calls in a day. Overdoses from fentanyl-laced drugs have become more common in recent years causing drug-related deaths across the country. One city in Canada has been so impacted by this crisis that it has been placed under an “overdose alert” following 12 overdoses in just 24 hours.
On Sunday, March 3, Surrey, BC saw 12 overdoses in just 24 hours. Following the overdoses, the city was put under an "overdose alert" to warn the public and users about contaminated drugs.
According to the New West Police, Surrey first responders were the ones to attend these calls. Now, a public alert has been put out stating that Surrey is under an overdose alert.
It is believed that some of the 12 overdoses were from contaminated cocaine. As of now, it is believed that the cocaine was contaminated with a powerful opioid like fentanyl.
Fraser Health is now asking the public to look out for each other. Fraser Health is encouraging people to not use alone and to attend a supervised service.
They have also provided tips for the general public to help those in need. This includes calling 911, opening the airways of the overdosing individual to give breaths, and issuing naloxone if available.
Dr. Shovita Padhi with Fraser Health told CityNews that almost all street drugs are contaminated with fentanyl or other opioids. She also stated that while it is a large number of overdoses, it is difficult to determine if they are linked to a single batch of drugs.
BC had a large history of overdoses. According to the provincial government, there were 112 suspected drug overdose deaths in December 2018 alone. Throughout all of 2018, there were 1,489 reported drug overdose deaths.
On average, around four people a day die due to overdose deaths in BC. In order to reduce the number of unwanted overdose deaths, BC officials have recommended legally regulating heroin sales in the province.