Missing opiate disappeared in late 2015
It’s the largest loss of the deadly opiate known as “fentanyl” at Island Health in the past five years.
Officials says the drug disappeared late last year from Royal Jubilee Hospital, but can’t say how it went missing, or by whom.
But the information is only now coming to light.
An influx of fentanyl and other deadly opiates on the street contributed to 36 overdose deaths in Victoria in the first six months of the 2016.
Provincially, that number is expected to climb to 800 by the of the year.
The director of Pharmacy Services at Island Health, Richard Jones, says it’s the largest loss of fentanyl in years.
“Is it the largest fentanyl loss in this hospital?”
“In this organization?
The missing fentanyl at Royal Jubilee Hospital came to light as a result of a freedom of information request made by freelance journalist Stanley Tromp.
“The category says loss unexplained.
So I don’t know if they know exactly what happened.”
The fentanyl went missing in late 2015.
And is only now coming to light.
Jones says Island Health is required to report the loss to Health Canada, which they did.
“Health Canada requires any narcotic or controlled drug loss has to be investigated and reported to them directly.
We’ve fulfilled our obligation under that responsibility.”
In April, B.C.’s provincial health officer declared a public health emergency due to the growing number of overdose deaths in the province due to fentanyl.
“I’m declaring a public health emergency because it is an emergency, an urgent issue across the province.”
That allows the province to gather information on incidents of drug overdoses, primarily blamed on fentanyl.
Tromper says Island Health should disclose losses like this.
“If we had relied solely on Health Canada to tell us of these losses, then we as the press, public and police would never have known about these losses.”
The missing fentanyl is diluted in water, along with a second drug, and administered for pain relief after surgery.
“All of our nurses have access to them.
They are the ones who typically administer these drugs.
In many cases, our physicians also administer them.”
Victoria Police did not receive a report of the missing fentanyl.
That’s because Island Health is required to report the missing drug to Health Canada, not police.