B.C.’s top doctor cites ‘trial batch,’ as possible link to rash of drug overdoses

Health officials speculate on reasons for nine overdoses in five days in the Interior

It was a staggering start to January for communities in the Interior Health region, with nine people dying from drug overdoses within a five day period – a harsh reality of the creation and distribution of illicit drugs.

Sometimes referred to as “bad batches” or “clusters,” the distribution of illegal drugs with potent amounts of fentanyl – and in a few cases carfentanil – has been the culprit behind a handful of these kinda of deaths across the province.

Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall suggested the deaths may be due to a new dealer entering the region, “who doesn’t know how to mix the drugs in anything-less-than a dangerous way.”

“These deaths might represent the first sort of trial batch that somebody’s mixed up and put out into the community,” he said.

READ MORE: Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

Although she said she could only speculate, health officials believe these kinds of spikes in death carry a strong link to a specific supply of contaminated drugs, said Dr. Patricia Daly, executive director of the B.C. Overdose Emergency Response Centre.

“That’s often when you see clusters or rises in death, from a more contaminated drug supply,” Daly said during a news conference Wednesday, adding that clusters of deaths are investigated through the B.C. Coroners Service.

Black Press Media reached out to comment from the RCMP on its investigation into the deaths, but a spokesperson for the force declined to comment.

Not the first cluster of overdoses since fentanyl increase

In the summer of 2017, Fraser Health Authority released a warning similar to IHA’s alert on Jan. 26, after five people died from overdoses within nine hours in Abbotsford.

Officials urged drug users to not do drugs alone, to not mix different drugs and to carry naloxone.

Vancouver Coastal Health, serving the region seeing the lions share of drug overdose deaths, have taken increased measures to get the word out when bad drugs are detected on the streets.

The RADAR pilot project was launched in July, a texting service that sends an alert to those signed up when emergency crews attend to a number of overdose in a certain area within a short time frame.

Kendall has urged British Columbians in the past to become informed about the federal Good Samaritan Law, which protects people from charges of possession if they call 9-1-1 to report an overdose.

Just Posted

Could Thunder in the Valley roar at Alberni’s airport once more?

City of Port Alberni offered Stamp Avenue as a temporary solution

John Douglas looks forward to a “healthier” Port Alberni

Douglas has resigned from his position at the Port Alberni Shelter Society to run for mayor

Alberni weightlifter heads to world championship

Dhaliwal is ranked second in the Pan Americas and fifth overall in the world

Wildfire crews gain upper hand on Arbutus Ridge fire

Controlled burning helping to contain fire: Coastal Fire Centre

D.O.A. brings punk rock to Port Alberni’s Rainbow Room

New generation of punk bands help D.O.A. celebrate 40 years of performing

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Time to kick maverick Tory MP Maxime Bernier out of caucus, Scheer urged

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”

Most Read