Island Health is warning drug users that a “highly toxic” supply is leading to a spike in poisonings and overdoses in Greater Victoria.
“Overdoses are increasing in Victoria,” Island Health says in the drug poisoning and overdose advisory issued Wednesday. “Friends, family and community members using opioids and stimulants face increased risk from injection and inhalation.”
The health authority is asking drug users to take precautions like getting their drugs tested at Substance UVic, using at their local overdose prevention site, carrying naloxone and staggering use with a friend, if possible.
Additionally, Our Place Society issued its own warning about toxic drugs, saying Substance UVic tested “Turquoise Down” and found it contained carfentanyl, benzos & xylazine, an animal sedative that is “usually fatal in humans.”
Overdose Alert! Responding to several difficult overdoses today, many more experiencing severe psychosis, on Turquoise Down. Had @SubstanceUVic test the drug & it contains: Carfentanyl, Benzos & Xylazine, an Animal Sedative that is “usually fatal in humans” #yyj Please take care pic.twitter.com/33d4Sk2Hf5
— Our Place Society (@ourplacesociety) August 17, 2022
The advisories come days after the province announced the toxic drug crisis, first declared in 2016, has now claimed more than 10,000 lives.
More than 10,000 people have fatally overdosed since B.C. declared a public health emergency over toxic illicit drugs more than six years ago.
With 1,095 of those deaths occurring in the first half of this year, it’s the deadliest first half of a calendar year — an average of more than six people dying from toxic drugs per day.
In Victoria, 80 people died between January 1 and June 30 of this year, the third-highest death toll in the province behind only Vancouver and Surrey.
In the Island Health region overall, there have been 187 deaths due to toxic drugs so far this year — a rate of 42.5 per 100,000 residents.
Please Share: A Drug Poisoning/Overdose Advisory has been issued for #GreaterVictoria. Visit our Overdose Prevention Services page at https://t.co/j7pemrZZZk to find information on overdose prevention and supervised consumption sites, drug-checking services and more. pic.twitter.com/h6uPCRT9NO
— Island Health (@VanIslandHealth) August 17, 2022