British Columbia

Island Health issues warning after rash of overdoses

After multiple overdoses in Victoria and Campbell River, Dr. Richard Stanwick is reminding people never to use alone, to carry naloxone and not to hesitate calling 911 if someone is experiencing an overdose.

VicPD reports 7 overdoses in a half hour; warning also issued in Campbell River after increase in ODs there

Island Health has issued warnings after a number of overdoses on Vancouver Island. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Island Health has issued an advisory after a rash of overdoses in the last 24 hours in the downtown area of Victoria.

Dr. Richard Stanwick, the chief medical health officer for the Vancouver Island Health Authority, says six people were brought to the Royal Jubilee Emergency Department suffering from overdoses during that time.

"Our partners from VicPD said they actually dealt with seven overdoses in a half hour period mid-afternoon yesterday, and the ambulance service said they were actually called out to nine individuals overdosing," Stanwick told All Points West host Jason D'Souza.

Stanwick says at this point they are unsure if some of these numbers overlap.

"Whatever the reason, the numbers are concerning and we felt it appropriate to put an alert out," he said.

Stanwick says an increase of overdoses is not uncommon when social assistance cheques are issued, but that in this case, the "rapidity and tightness of time" is out of the ordinary.

The health authority is reminding users never to use alone, to always have a naloxone kit and not to hesitate to call 911 if someone is overdosing.

A warning has also been issued for Campbell River after that area saw an uptick of overdoses in the last 48 hours.

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West