7 overdoses reported at party in Vancouver's West End, VPD says
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Police Department says its officers were called to a party in the city's West End Friday night after seven people overdosed at the same time.
"Although the VPD does not typically attend overdose calls, BC Ambulance requested our help," said VPD spokesperson Const. Jason Doucette in a news release. "Due to the reported large number of reported (overdoses) at the location, we were initially dispatched to ensure a safe environment for everyone involved."
The ambulance service contacted police around 12:20 a.m. Saturday to notify them of the overdoses at an apartment on Jervis Street near Davie Street, police said.
When officers arrived, at least five people were in "serious medical distress," police said.
Seven people, ranging in age from 25 to 42, were taken to hospital for medical assessment. According to police, party participants were consuming cocaine and MDMA.
“The local supply chain is clearly contaminated, and we are reminding everyone, including recreational users, to exercise extreme caution when deciding to consume street drugs," Doucette said in the police release.
He said police believe the drugs the party-goers consumed contained fentanyl, though that hasn't been confirmed.
"These people were very lucky," Doucette told reporters Saturday afternoon. "A contaminated drug source is not going to discriminate. They don't care if you live in the West Side. They don't care if you live in the Downtown Eastside."
Provincial health orders implemented last week prohibit social gatherings with people from outside an immediate "core household." Both hosts and participants in social gatherings can face fines for their behaviour.
Doucette told CTV News the initial call indicated there were 10 people at the party Friday night. However, he said no fines have been issued to participants.
"We don't want to deter people from calling 911 to get help when they are experiencing or witnessing a suspected OD," he said in an email.