No explanation behind spike in overdoses

A spike in illicit drug overdoses in Oliver and Osoyoos has the RCMP urging caution, though the drug in question is still unknown.

A spike in illicit drug overdoses in Oliver and Osoyoos has the RCMP urging caution, though the drug in question is still unknown.

Osoyoos RCMP released a statement on Oct. 8 saying that police were aware of the spike in overdoses in the area and that neither the RCMP or health authorities have identified the substance.

“Unfortunately we just don’t have those details,” Cpl. Jason Bayda said.

The incidents were reported to the RCMP by hospitals in the area and the investigation is being taken on by Interior Health.

On Oct. 9 Interior Health released a statement urging drug users to exercise caution in “the wake of several suspected drug overdoses in the Oliver and Osoyoos area over the last two weeks,” the statement reads. “It is uncertain at this time what exactly is causing the overdoses. Interior Health is working with the RCMP to investigate further.”

The release states that not using drugs is the best way to avoid overdoses.

“It’s obviously much better to know what the drugs are, but we have to go with the common theme that all illicit drugs are dangerous,” Bayda said. “There’s never a good batch.”

Interior Health said the age range for the recent cases of overdoses includes adults from 20-60 years old.

“In general it is always a challenge to identify the cocktail or components of the cocktail these people get from street drugs. Usually street drugs are not purely one single drug, it is a combination and they can be a wide range of things from hallucinogens, opiates, prescription drugs,” said Dr. Kamran Golmohammadi, medical health officer with Interior Health.

“It is very difficult to say what exactly was in the product that was sold on the street,” Golmohammadi said.

He noted at this time it is unclear how the substance or substances were ingested.

Interior Health noted in its release tips to reduce the risk of an overdose including not mixing different drugs, not to take drugs alone, taking a small sample of a drug before taking a usual dosage, never experiment with higher doses and keeping an eye out for friends who are ingesting drugs.

Signs of an overdose include a headache, nausea, confusion, vomiting, shakes and fainting. If experiencing these symptoms after ingesting an illicit drug, or if you believe you are witnessing an overdoes call 911 immediately.