(Twitter @Interior_Health)

Interior Health issues drug and overdose alert for Kootenay Boundary

High amounts of respiratory-depressant substances found in samples tested at ANKORS

Interior Health has issued a drug and overdose alert for the Kootenay Boundary due to “samples of highly toxic amounts of fentanyl and benzodiazepines.”

The health authority says the illicit drug, tested at ANKORS, is sold as “Down,” and it is described as a purple, blue or pink pebbly substance.

The alert – effective now and until Aug. 21 – is for Trail, Nelson, Castlegar and Salmo.

Naloxone kits and training are available at ANKORS and at Interior Health public health and mental health and substance use offices. In Trail, these services run out of the Kiro Wellness Centre.

Last month marked a grim record with paramedics in B.C. responding to more than 2,700 overdose calls.

That’s roughly 87 calls to suspected overdoses each day.

The BC Coroners Service has yet to release the total number of lives lost due to illicit drugs for July, but health officials have warned the stats will likely follow a concerning uptick in recent months – linked to an increasingly toxic drug supply.

As B.C. grapples with two health crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing overdoses wreaking havoc in all corners of the province – this summer has been particularly troublesome for fatal drug poisonings.

ALSO READ: In a pandemic, those on the front lines face unique mental health challenges

In June, 175 British Columbians died of overdoses, surpassing the previous May record of 170 deaths. Eleven of the fatalities in June involved carfentanil, typically used as an elephant tranquilizer, according to toxicology reports.

That brought the six-month total of deaths in 2020 to 728, compared to 543 during the same time period in 2019.

Seventy-two per cent of the deaths this year have involved street-level fentanyl, a powerful opioid.



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