Another drug alert has been issued for Penticton, this time for a new, dangerous batch of “light green and chunky” fentanyl circulating the city.
Interior Health issued the drug alert on Jan. 5, saying the drug, that contains fentanyl and benzodiazepines, has a high risk of overdose with prolonged sedation. This drug may not respond to naloxone due to the presence of benzodiazepines.
The alert is in effect until Jan. 12. Interior Health is urging drug users to get their drugs checked before they use and warning not to use alone.
This is the third drug alert in less than two months in Penticton.
Penticton Fire Department is often the first to respond to overdoses.
“It’s been bad. Some days we are going to back to back overdoses. It takes a toll but I’m just so sorry for the people going through it. That’s the saddest part,” said fire chief Larry Watkinson.
Penticton paramedics have responded to significantly more drug overdose calls in 2020, city council heard in a presentation by Interior Health representatives.
So far, this year has seen an increase of “about 70 per cent” in the number of 911 overdose calls made in Penticton compared to 2019, Interior Health medical health officer Sue Pollock told Penticton council.
However, overdose deaths are down in the city.
In 2019 there were a total of 22 overdose deaths in Penticton recorded by the B.C. Coroners Service. In 2020 there were nine from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31.
-Files from Jesse Day