Interior Health and the BC Coroners Service have issued an overdose alert in the wake of an increase in carfentanil detections in the Interior Health region this month.
It is unclear in which substances carfentanil has been detected.
Based on preliminary data provided by the BC Coroners Service, there have been 19 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C. in March in which carfentanil was detected. Of the19 deaths, seven occurred in the Interior Health region.
Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid normally used as a sedative for large animals. It is similar to fentanyl, but can be 100 times more toxic. Ingesting one or two grains can be fatal to humans. Carfentanil is not detected by fentanyl strips.
If you are using, Interior Health has some tips:
• Don’t mix different drugs (including pharmaceutical medications, street drugs and alcohol).
• Don’t take drugs when you are alone. Use in the company of someone who can administer help or call 911 if you experience an overdose.
• Keep an eye out for your friends. Stay together and look out for each other. Consider staggering your use with friends so some can respond if needed.
• Use less and pace yourself. Do testers to check strength. Take a small sample of a drug before taking your usual dosage.
• Carry a Naloxone kit and know how to use it. A list of locations to get a kit can be found on the Toward the Heart Site Finder.
• Recognize the signs of an overdose: slow or no breathing, gurgling or gasping, lips/fingertips turning blue, difficult to awaken or non-responsive.
• If someone is experiencing an overdose or is witnessing an overdose, follow the SAVE ME steps and call 911immediately.
• Use an overdose prevention site or supervised drug-use site. In Kamloops, both can be found at the Crossroads Inn, downtown at Seymour Street and Sixth Avenue, and at the ASK Wellness Society site at 433 Tranquille Rd. in North Kamloops.
• Consider treatment options. Talk with your health-care provider or contact a mental health and substance use office in IH, which offers a full range of services to support the health and well-being of people with substance-use problems.