Renewed calls for safe supply after 7 overdoses at same party
VANCOUVER -- Advocates are renewing calls for a safe supply of drugs after seven people overdosed at the same party in the West End just after midnight Saturday morning.
“Here we have people who thought they were using cocaine and MDMA, but both of these substances had fentanyl in them,” said Dana Larsen on Sunday, outside his Vancouver storefront where drugs can be tested for free.
“So, it is an overdose of fentanyl but really they weren’t trying to take that drug,” Larsen said.
All seven people were treated by paramedics at the apartment building and some required further care in hospital.
“It’s really poisoning," said Larsen. "And a poisoned drug supply is what we’re talking about."
The longtime legalization advocate who would like to see all drugs regulated and available as part of a safe supply.
In the midst of a pair of public health crises, guidance from the province is conflicting, with drug users being told to never use alone at a time when social gatherings are prohibited to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Vancouver police did not fine the West End party host for breaking pandemic rules because they don’t want to deter people from calling 911 in life and death situations.
“At this particular occasion, we went to make sure that our paramedics were safe, that the environment was safe, not to do a police investigation,” said Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Const. Jason Doucette.
After the close call for those seven people early Saturday, those calling for a safe supply say it should include access to party drugs for recreational users, not just opiates for habitual users.
“People should have the right to know what they’re using and what’s exactly in it,” said Sarah Blyth of the Overdose Prevention Society, another place where people can get their drugs tested.
“It’s going to continue to kill people until people know what they’re taking.”