B.C.’s top doctor cites ‘trial batch,’ as possible link to rash of drug overdoses

Health officials speculate on reasons for nine overdoses in five days in the Interior

It was a staggering start to January for communities in the Interior Health region, with nine people dying from drug overdoses within a five day period – a harsh reality of the creation and distribution of illicit drugs.

Sometimes referred to as “bad batches” or “clusters,” the distribution of illegal drugs with potent amounts of fentanyl – and in a few cases carfentanil – has been the culprit behind a handful of these kinda of deaths across the province.

Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall suggested the deaths may be due to a new dealer entering the region, “who doesn’t know how to mix the drugs in anything-less-than a dangerous way.”

“These deaths might represent the first sort of trial batch that somebody’s mixed up and put out into the community,” he said.

READ MORE: Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

Although she said she could only speculate, health officials believe these kinds of spikes in death carry a strong link to a specific supply of contaminated drugs, said Dr. Patricia Daly, executive director of the B.C. Overdose Emergency Response Centre.

“That’s often when you see clusters or rises in death, from a more contaminated drug supply,” Daly said during a news conference Wednesday, adding that clusters of deaths are investigated through the B.C. Coroners Service.

Black Press Media reached out to comment from the RCMP on its investigation into the deaths, but a spokesperson for the force declined to comment.

Not the first cluster of overdoses since fentanyl increase

In the summer of 2017, Fraser Health Authority released a warning similar to IHA’s alert on Jan. 26, after five people died from overdoses within nine hours in Abbotsford.

Officials urged drug users to not do drugs alone, to not mix different drugs and to carry naloxone.

Vancouver Coastal Health, serving the region seeing the lions share of drug overdose deaths, have taken increased measures to get the word out when bad drugs are detected on the streets.

The RADAR pilot project was launched in July, a texting service that sends an alert to those signed up when emergency crews attend to a number of overdose in a certain area within a short time frame.

Kendall has urged British Columbians in the past to become informed about the federal Good Samaritan Law, which protects people from charges of possession if they call 9-1-1 to report an overdose.

Just Posted

Stories from the old Edge dairy farm on Panama Flats

Emily Carr once offered a painting to pay her dairy tab

Runners invited to get set for the 40th annual Goodlife Marathon

More than 9,000 runners expected to pack Victoria streets in October

Noted playwright and Theatre SKAM team up on latest production

Charles Tidler interprets dozens of urban interactions in Victoria with 7eventy 7even

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Lost wedding ring found on Valentine’s Day

Dan Milbrath’s ring is back where it belongs

VIDEO: Thousands enjoy Family Day fun in Saanich

Cedar Hill Recreation and Arts Centre hosts Family Arts Festival

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Most Read