A community wellness worker demonstrates the use of a Naloxone kit. File photo

A community wellness worker demonstrates the use of a Naloxone kit. File photo

AIDS Vancouver Island warns about deadly substances as fatal overdoses mount on North Island

North Island has second-highest rate of fatal illicit drug overdoses in B.C.

  • Jun. 28, 2019 12:00 a.m.

AIDS Vancouver Island (AVI) renewed warnings about the drug supply on Wednesday as fatal overdoses continued to mount in northern Vancouver Island.

“The drug supply continues to be very strong,” said Sarah Sullivan, who manages AVI’s Courtenay and Campbell River offices, in an email. “We encourage anyone using substances to use small amounts, have a friend or support person with them who can respond if they overdose and avoid mixing drugs, including with alcohol.”

By the end of March, 10 fatal illicit drug overdoses had occurred in the North Island health service area, according to the most recent figures from the BC Coroners Service. That includes the Comox Valley and surrounding area.

The North Island currently has second the highest rate of fatal illicit overdose deaths in the province, with 31.8 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019. Vancouver has the highest rate, with 41.9 deaths per 100,000 people.

Sullivan noted that AVI offers harm reduction supplies and an overdose prevention site at its downtown Courtenay office, located at 355 Sixth St.

Its hours of operation are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and statutory holidays.

As well, the Harm Reduction and Overdose Response Team is available for community-based harm reduction supply delivery and overdose prevention support on Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The team can be reached at 250-207-3757.

Naloxone training and kits are available at the AVI office and through the harm reduction team.

More information can be found at towardtheheart.com.

READ MORE: Mobile harm reduction team on the road to fight overdose crisis in the Comox Valley

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