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Overdose prevention & response

Overdose rates in B.C. are dramatically on the rise. In April 2016, it was declared a public health emergency.

We are extremely concerned about the high number of overdoses and overdose deaths in our region and throughout the province and continue to take steps to respond.

Help us warn people about contaminated street drugs

Click the button below to fill out an anonymous form. For emergencies call 9-1-1.
Report bad dope

Prevent an overdose

Follow these tips to reduce the chance of experiencing an overdose:      

  • Don’t use alone

  • Start with a small amount

  • Mixing substances, including alcohol, increases risk of overdose

  • Use where help is easily available (e.g. Insite supervised injection site, around other people)

  • Make a plan/know how to respond in case of an overdose

An overdose is when more drugs have been taken than the body can handle. 

Learn the signs of an overdose

Overdose alert - Find an overdose prevention site & supervised injection services in the Downtown Eastside

Local health services map - Find overdose prevention sites, supervised injection, addictions treatment and community health care centres in the Downtown Eastside

Unintentional deaths and injury from opioid overdose are preventable with overdose and naloxone education. Naloxone can quickly reverse an overdose. People can be trained to recognize and respond to an overdose by using a free take home naloxone kit. The training is free and takes 20 minutes. Find the nearest Take Home Naloxone site in the VCH area with the map below. For sites across BC, visit Toward the Heart - Site Locator

 Content Editor

What are opioids?

Opioids such as heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl, Vicodin, codeine, morphine and methadone suppress breathing, and in cases of overdose, can result in severe brain damage and even death due to oxygen deprivation.

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate narcotic, a prescription drug used primarily for cancer patients in severe pain. Fentanyl is extremely toxic. A piece of fentanyl the size of one or two grains of sand can cause an overdose. It is roughly 50 to 100 times more toxic than morphine.

Fentanyl is a contaminant you can’t see, smell or taste. It can be found in pills sold as fake oxys and other club drugs, in powder as heroin or fent, and can be mixed into other drugs like cocaine and crystal meth. There are no reports that fentanyl is being found in cannabis (marijuana). People don’t often think the substances they are using contain fentanyl.

Although fentanyl is sometimes used in the management of complex pain, it must be prescribed by a physician and the dose should be carefully monitored.

What is W-18?

W-18 is a synthetic opioid, which can be up to 100 times more toxic than fentanyl. Use of this toxic drug, even in very small amounts, could result in a fatal overdose. Read news story: Drug more dangerous than fentanyl reaches Lower Mainland

What is carfentanil?

Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid which can be up to 100 times more toxic than fentanyl. Use of this toxic drug, even in very small amounts, could result in a fatal overdose. It is used as a general anaesthetic for large animals such as elephants. 

What fentanyl can look like

Fentanyl has become popular in the manufacturing of counterfeit Oxycodone pills. They can look like the ones below. Learn more at Fentanyl Safety - about fentanyl


Testing for fentanyl

SOURCE: Overdose prevention & response ( )
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