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Drug users warned of tainted crack cocaine on North Shore

The B.C. Coroners Service reports there were 26 deaths involving illicit drugs in the North Shore - Coast Garibaldi health service area between January and June 2021. Six of those drug deaths were in North Vancouver and West Vancouver
Moms Stop The Harm Promo web
Moms Stop the Harm members Matthew Witt and Jennifer Cooper draw purple outlines resembling forensic body markings outside North Shore politicians’ offices on Aug. 28 to raise awareness of B.C.’s opioid crisis and International Overdose Awareness Day.

Drug users on the North Shore are being warned about recent drug overdoses from tainted crack cocaine.

On Friday, Vancouver Coastal Health’s Real-time Drug Alert & Response system warned of potentially contaminated street drugs on the North Shore, with a text reading: “Overdoses reported following crack cocaine use in North Vancouver. Please don’t use alone. Find a Narcan kit near you.”

The RADAR text alert system was developed to help warn people about contaminated street drugs. Subscribers can anonymously share details about contaminated street drugs and overdoses via an online form or by text, and also receive drug contamination alerts by text.

The B.C. Coroners Service could not provide any information about whether any of the recent overdoses on the North Shore were fatal ones.

However, deaths due to drug toxicity remain the leading cause of unnatural death in B.C.

On Aug. 31, International Overdose Awareness Day, the BC Coroners Service released data indicating that at least 1,011 lives were lost to suspected illicit drug toxicity in B.C. between January and June 2021 — the highest recorded in the first six months of a calendar year.

According to that report, there were 26 deaths from illicit drugs in the North Shore Coast Garibaldi health region between January and June 2021.

Of those, three deaths were in North Vancouver, three were in West Vancouver/Bowen Island, five were in the Sea-to-Sky corridor, five were on the Sunshine Coast and eight were in Powell River.

In 2020, there were 48 drug deaths in the health service area.

According to the coroners service, post-mortem toxicology results suggest there has been a greater number of recent deaths involving “extreme fentanyl concentrations” compared to previous months.