Overdose advisories for Cowichan, Nanaimo, North Island warn of increased risk: Island Health

Overdose advisories for Cowichan, Nanaimo, North Island warn of increased risk: Island Health
File photo.

Island Health has issued drug poisoning overdose advisories for two more areas of Vancouver Island, after issuing one for the North Island just a day prior.

The health authority, in alerts Wednesday, says overdoses are increasing in both Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley, where “friends, family and community members using opioids and stimulants face increased risk from injection and inhalation.”

It says those who witness someone overdosing should call 911 and stay with them, administering naloxone and giving one breath every five seconds.

A refresher on how to use naloxone can be found online here.

Additionally, Island Health says drug users should get their drugs checked. In Nanaimo, an Overdose Prevention and Supervised Consumption site (OPS) is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 250 Albert St. There’s also a site at 5878 York Rd. in Duncan, where sample drop-off runs daily from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

The advisories posted to X (formerly Twitter) include a link to Island Health’s website, which provides more information on OPS sites and drug-checking services.

The advisories note that drug users should also carry naloxone, use one substance at a time, know their tolerance, start low and go slow, stagger use with a friend, or, if using alone, let someone know and ask them to check on you.

For additional resources, Island Health says drug users can download the Connect by Lifeguard app here, while National OD Response can be reached at 1-888-688-6677.

On Tuesday, an overdose advisory was issued for the North Island, where two First Nations recently issued a state of emergency following the deaths of 11 people.

The Gwa’Sala-Nakwaxda’xw First Nations said last week that some of those who died were youth, and many of the deaths involved drugs or alcohol.

“There is extreme fear. I know people are reeling,” Paddy Walkus, a councillor and hereditary chief at the Gwa’Sala-Nakwaxda’xw First Nations, told CHEK News.

“There’s a lot of distress and despair amongst young people.”

The Nations are calling on the RCMP to do more to enforce bylaws to address drugs in the community. B.C. Premier David Eby said it was “critically important” to deploy more resources, and on Tuesday, an Indigenous Services Canada spokesperson said the ministry was working to provide increased supports to the area.

Overdose advisories are removed seven days after they’re issued.


Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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