Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Coroner's Service says 13 deaths linked to fentanyl
Released by the BC Coroners Service/Stock image
he BC Coroners Service is warning illicit drug users of the dangers of fentanyl being ingested unknowingly along with other substances.
The danger appears particularly acute in the area covered by the Fraser
Health Authority, including Surrey, Langley, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge.
In all other regions of the province, deaths related to fentanyl appear to be stabilizing or decreasing since last year.
All persons using drugs are urged to exercise extreme caution. While the BC
Coroners Service always advises against using illicit drugs, people who do
use illicit drugs should be sure not to use alone, and, if injecting, should
inject slowly. Ideally, illicit drugs should be administered at a site where
medical assistance is readily available.
Early signs of a fentanyl overdose include severe sleepiness, slow
heartbeat; trouble breathing or slow, shallow breathing or snoring; cold,
clammy skin; and trouble with walking or talking. If any of these signs are
observed in someone who is known to, or suspected of, taking opioid or
illicit drugs, 911 should be called immediately.
Immediate use of an opioid antagonist, such as naxolone (Narcan), can reverse the effects of fentanyl, but higher doses than usual may be needed.
Editor's Note: For information on the local needle exchange, see the Voice's story here.
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