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Coroner issues urgent drug-death warning
Submitted. The BC Coroners Service is issuing an urgent warning to users
of illicit drugs, especially in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, to
take extra care.
The warning comes in light of an unprecedented number of fatalities
involving illicit drugs yesterday.
At least six persons died after using drugs in the Downtown Eastside in a
span of only about eight hours. Another two deaths in the same area in
the same timeframe are suspected of potentially being drug-related.
Another five persons died yesterday after drug use throughout the rest of
the province – one elsewhere in Vancouver, one in Burnaby, two in the
Fraser Region and one in northern B.C.
“We are not sure what has caused this very distressing spike in
fatalities,” said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. “It will take detailed
toxicology testing and further investigation to try to determine that.”
In the meantime, it is more important than ever that those who find they
must use illicit drugs do so at a site where naloxone and medical help
are readily available. Although new overdose prevention sites and a
mobile medical unit are being established in the Downtown Eastside, along
with Insite, none of those who died were utilizing any of those
The BC Coroners Service continues to work with the provincial
government’s Joint Task Force on Overdose Response and with health,
community and law enforcement agencies in an effort to reduce the death