Emergency crews respond to an overdose call. (Photo: Black Press files)

Alert issued after 12 overdoses in one B.C. city in one day

Vancouver and Fraser Health authorities say spike in overdoses linked to cocaine

Fraser Health Authority has issued an overdose alert after first responders reported at least 12 overdoses in Surrey on Sunday.

A press release notes that “reports suggest some of these overdoses have been connected to cocaine contaminated with an opioid like fentanyl.”

In 2018, 210 people died from drug overdoses in Surrey, up from 178 in 2017. Surrey was surpassed only by Vancouver, which had 382 overdose deaths in 2018. Across B.C. last year there were 1,489 overdose deaths.

READ ALSO: Roughly one person died every two days from drug overdoses in Surrey

RELATED: B.C. opioid overdoses still killing four people a day, health officials say

“The almost 1,500 deaths in B.C. in 2018 due to illicit drug overdoses far outweigh the numbers of people dying from motor vehicle incidents, homicides and suicides combined,” said B.C.’s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. “Innovative and evidence-based approaches are necessary if we want to effect meaningful change and stop the dying. We need to be prepared to do things differently to save lives.”

According to data compiled through toxicology reports, fentanyl was detected in 85 per cent of all deaths last year, up from 82 per cent in 2017.

Nearly five times as many men died compared to women.

Also for a second year, not a single death happened at an overdose prevention site or safe consumption site, Fraser Health reports.

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