Ultra-potent heroin killing off drug users
Published Thursday, May 5, 2011 3:54PM PDT
Supplies to be used by drug addicts fill baskets as nurse Arvita Cotter prepares for a shift at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday, April 18, 2011. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A spike in recent lethal drug overdoses is being blamed on a batch of ultra potent heroin makings its way around British Columbia.
The BC Coroners Service said there have been 20 fatal heroin doses so far this year in Metro Vancouver – more than double for the same time period last year.
Vince Stancato believes the numbers of fatalities may climb once the agency receives toxicology reports from other recent deaths.
The B.C. RCMP said the heroin being dealt to drug users in some parts of the province is at least twice as potent as usual.
Kelowna Mounties issued a warning about "toxic heroin" Tuesday after the sudden deaths of two young men within 36 hours.
Const. Steve Holmes said a small amount of heroin was found at the homes of both men, aged 24 and 21.
The BC Coroner's Service said the increased potency puts users at an increased risk for health complications, overdose and even death.
"Drug users should never be alone when ingesting drugs, and, where possible, should use available community services such as INSITE or needle exchanges where access to medical care is available," a release from the department said.