Poisoned drug alert in Kamloops prompted by increase in overdoses | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Poisoned drug alert in Kamloops prompted by increase in overdoses

Interior Health is warning drug users of a poisoned drug supply in the Kamloops area.

The drug poisoning alert issued this afternoon, Nov. 3, didn't describe a specific appearance or type of drug, but did say there have been multiple fatal and non-fatal overdoses in Kamloops and the area.

Kile McKenna of ASK Wellness said fentanyl amounts in some tests are about double the average in recent weeks, and there's been more overdoses on the North Shore than usual recently.

"There were quite seasoned users getting a strong response to a fairly small amount of down," McKenna said, who tests drug samples for users in Kamloops. "I know at ASK we've seen increased overdose activity, on the North Shore in particular, over the last couple weeks."

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He added, however, that overdose reports have increased in various locations across the city, including shelters and housing projects on both the south and north shores.

Interior Health was not able to provide figures on just how many people it knows overdosed in the Kamloops area for the past few weeks, citing privacy concerns. However, those figures will eventually be provided in the monthly B.C. Coroner's Service reports.

"Various services in Kamloops reported responding to a higher than normal amount of non-fatal drug poisonings and although we cannot share specific numbers, it was enough for services to reach out in concern," an Interior Health spokesperson said in a statement.

Interior Health said it has changed its terminology from "overdose" to "drug poisoning," to more accurately describe the drug crisis.

"Individuals are taking the same amounts or less of their doses, but experiencing a drug poisoning. The dosage has not changed but the ingredients in the dose are unknown," the statement said.

The most recent coroner's stats report 65 people in Kamloops died from drug toxicity in 2022 as of Aug. 31. The area reached its highest death toll last year with 87 people.

Drugs can be tested in Kamloops at ASK Wellness at 433 Tranquille Rd., with additional hours of testing being offered at Crossroads (569 Seymour St.) and the Interior Health mental health and substance use office (200-235 Lansdowne St.) tomorrow, Nov. 4.

More information is available here.

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