Flood of drug overdoses in Vancouver underscores need for greater outreach (Dr. Steve Mathias)

A flood of drug overdoses at Vancouver’s supervised injection site is being blamed on fentanyl, a highly dangerous substance that looks like heroin and which is increasingly being sold on the streets.

The flurry of nearly 40 incidents since Sunday is underscoring for health officials the need not only for controlled injection sites such as Insite, but also for outreach programs that can deliver naloxone to users, wherever they are. Naloxone is a rapidly acting antidote for opioid drug overdose that users and other volunteers are being trained to administer in a pilot program run by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Steve Mathias, medical manager of the Inner City Youth Program at St. Paul’s Hospital, says about 30 naloxone kits have been given to young drug users in the city in the past year.

Mark Hume reports

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