Nelson Drug Alert

Interior Health – Nelson

Down in Nelson has been found to contain high levels of fentanyl, fluorofentanyl and benzos.

Sold as Down, Fentanyl.

 

Contains:

8% Fentanyl

21% Fluorofentanyl (Fentanyl analogue) *

2% Bromazolam (Benzodiazepine)

*Fluorofentanyl potency is not well understood. It can be more potent than standard fentanyl. This means this drug could be very strong.

Risk:

High risk of overdose with severe complications including death. Loss of consciousness is possible. Passing out for long periods and amnesia are also potential effects.

Overdose response:

Naloxone does not work on Benzos, BUT naloxone will work on the opioid overdose symptoms.  After giving breaths and naloxone, the person may begin breathing normally, but may not wake up. More doses of naloxone should only be given if the person is not breathing normally (less than 10 breaths a minute). If the person is breathing normally but remains unconscious, place in recovery position and stay with them until emergency services arrive.

No matter what or how you use (oral, smoking, snorting, injecting) take steps to prevent overdose

  • Know the risks when mixing drugs
  • If you must use while alone, consider using the Lifeguard app which can connect you with 911 emergency responders if you overdose. Download at the App Store or Google Play.   
  • When using your substance start with a small amount, and then go slow.
  • Use with others or at an Overdose Prevention or Supervised Consumption Site, if one is near you.
  • Know how to respond to an overdose – call 911, give rescue breaths and naloxone.

 

Here is a link to download a printable version of this poster.

Drug Checking Report for Interior Health – July 2022 – BCCSU

The BCCSU publishes Provincial and regional monthly reports that summarize drug checking results. Here is the July 2022 report from samples collected by Drug Checking Sites across the Interior Health region.

Key Findings

  • The percentage of opioids testing positive for benzodiazepines in the region decreased from 72.0% to 61.6% (45 of 73
    samples). Trends may be hard to infer due the large geographic region, and the true rate may be higher than reported here
    as etizolam, a benzodiazepine-like substance, may be missed by drug checking technologies.
  • One alert was issued about fentanyl being sold as cocaine.
  •  The overall decrease in drugs checked during July may be in part due to the diversion of some services to music
    festivals that occurred within the region

Find the full report here.

Trail and area Drug Alert

Interior Health – Trail

Down in Trail has been found to contain Fentanyl (34%), Benzodiazepines (Bromazolam 4%, Flubromazepam 1%) alongside with caffeine. These results are accurate as they have been verified by PS-MS at Substance (UVIC).

Risk:

High risk of overdose and death. Risk of unconsciousness not resolved by Naloxone.

Symptoms:

More drowsy than usual, Memory Loss, Nausea, Heavy Nod, Dizziness, Associated with multiple overdoses.

Overdose response:

Naloxone does not work on Benzos, BUT naloxone will work on the opioid overdose symptoms.  After giving breaths and naloxone, the person may begin breathing normally, but may not wake up. More doses of naloxone should only be given if the person is not breathing normally (less than 10 breaths a minute). If the person is breathing normally but remains unconscious, place in recovery position and stay with them until emergency services arrive.

No matter what or how you use (oral, smoking, snorting, injecting) take steps to prevent overdose

  • Before using, get your drugs checked to find out if what your Down contains.
  • Find locations at www.drugchecking.ca
  • Be aware of possible heavy sedation
  • Be aware of risk if mixing with other drugs, including alcohol
  • Use with others around or at an Overdose Prevention Site (OPS)
  • Start with a small amount and space out your doses
  • Carry naloxone and know how to use it
  • Get the LifeGuard App – lifeguarddh.com
  • Call 211 or visit bc211.ca to find services near you

Here is a link to download a printable version of this poster.

Drug Checking Report for Interior Health – June 2022 – BCCSU

The BCCSU publishes Provincial and regional monthly reports that summarize drug checking results. Here is the June 2022 report from samples collected by Drug Checking Sites across the Interior Health region.

Key Findings

  • The percentage of opioids testing positive for benzodiazepines in the region remained high (72.0%, 108 of
    150 samples), but trends may be hard to infer due the large geographic region. Etizolam, the predominant
    benzodiazepine in expected opioids, may be missed by drug checking technologies. This means that the true
    rate may be higher than reported here.
    • The fentanyl analogue para-fluorofentanyl is appearing in down more frequently. Para-fluorofentanyl is believed
    to be less potent that fentanyl and is accurately detected with fentanyl test strips

Find the full report here.

South Okanagan Drug Alert – Beige Down

Interior Heath has issued a DRUG ALERT for the South Okanagan after an increase in overdose activity associated with a beige substance sold as ‘Down/Fentanyl’. This substance has been found to contain Fentanyl with no cuts/buffs (additives).

 Risk

High risk of overdose and  death. 

 Please be aware of safer drug use tips that can help prevent overdose as well as where to access naloxone, drug checking and other overdose prevention services in your community. 

No matter what or how you use (smoking, snorting, injecting) take steps to prevent overdose

  • Know the risks when mixing drugs
  • If you must use while alone, consider using the Lifeguard app which can connect you with 911 emergency responders if you overdose. Download at the App Store or Google Play.   
  • When using your substance start with a small amount, and then go slow.
  • Use with others or at an Overdose Prevention or Supervised Consumption Site, if one is near you.
  • Know how to respond to an overdose – call 911, give rescue breaths and naloxone.

New Normal – Drug Checking at Festivals

New Normal

Harm reduction in a post-pandemic festive context

Festivals, gatherings, parties.

After a two year hiatus, we are preparing to gather in thousands under the love of music, friendship, dancing, arts and whatever your jam is. The Interior Health region usually hosts an incredible variety of events and this year is no exception. But what has changed?

Festivals are an experimental ground for a population that converges from all walks of life. Some are seasoned lifers that live and breathe the music and culture, while some may be first timers, curious and eager to have fun on a summer weekend. All will be looking forward to a feeling of connection, new experiences and hedonistic opportunities, long awaited since the start of the pandemic. Many will choose to transform their experience through the use of drugs, from well known alcohol to, new for some, illicit substances.

The pandemic created a situation where there has been significant transformations in the drug supply, witnessed through drugs checked by community drug checking endeavors. These changes have been tragic for all of us, with consequences ranging from drug related health complications to higher death rates than ever.

As well as the drug supply issues, there will also be newcomers to the scene, with perhaps less knowledge about the drugs that they are curious to experiment with. Keen partiers may also feel the urge to partake in substance use more than usual, as the burgeoning excitement of being back together intensifies.

This year, Interior Health is contributing to Drug Checking efforts in festive situations. In partnership with community organizations, there will be FTIR and test strip drug checking services offered at both Bass Coast and Shambhala Music festival, events that gather approximately 5000 and 16000 people respectively. Some smaller events are serviced by their local harm reduction related agencies. Not only do these services enable people who use drugs to make informed choices about their use, they also allow an incredible opportunity to engage in a conversation around drugs, providing education in the scope of harm reduction.

Drug checking services at festivals allow us to monitor what is circulating in the ever changing supply and act upon it. Extra vigilance will be paramount for this summer’s festivals. After a 2 year interruption, the only thing that we can say for sure is that risk and inconsistency are unquestionably the “new normal” within the illicit drug supply.

If you plan to use substances this year, consider using one of the drug checking services spread across the IHA region. Find out where is the closest to you at drugchecking.ca

Link to pdf poster : New Normal – What is in your drugs

 

Drug Checking Report for Interior Health – May 2022 – BCCSU

The BCCSU publishes Provincial and regional monthly reports that summarize drug checking results. Here is the May 2022 report from samples collected by Drug Checking Sites across the Interior Health region.

Key Findings

The percentage of opioids testing positive for benzodiazepines in the region remained high (64.9%, 113 of 174 samples), but trends may be hard to infer due the large geographic region. Etizolam, the predominant benzodiazepine in expected opioids, may be missed by drug checking technologies. This means that the true rate may be higher than reported here.

• The fentanyl analogue para-fluorofentanyl is appearing in down more frequently. Para-fluorofentanyl is believed to be less potent that fentanyl and is accurately detected with fentanyl test strips.
• Drug checking is available in many different communities in the Interior Health region. For updated times and locations, visit our Interior Health’s drug checking website.

Find the full report here.

Methamphetamine tests positive for benzos in Vernon and Kelowna

The Drug Checking Team at UBCO has issued the following Community Warning for Vernon and Kelowna:  Multiple samples of methamphetamine “SIDE” sold as Methamphetamine “SIDE” tested positive for BENZODIAZEPINES + METHAMPHETAMINES in Vernon/Kelowna.

Potential undesirable effects: Sleepiness, memory loss, altered thinking, delusions of safety/sobriety, risky behavior, passing out.

Facts:

  • Many benzos cause a strong feeling when inhaled
  • Taking multiple doses will cause more undesirable effects
  • Sedation can last minutes to hours
  • If you do not use benzos, this will have a stronger effect for you
  • If someone passes out from meth, make sure they can breathe and do not leave them alone
  • Naloxone will not work on benzos, but always give naloxone when in doubt
  • Benzos can cause intense withdrawal symptoms

 Please ensure your clients are aware of safer drug use tips that can help prevent overdose as well as where they can access naloxone, drug checking and other overdose prevention services in your community. 

Overdose response:

Naloxone does not work on Benzos, BUT naloxone will work on the opioid overdose symptoms.  After giving breaths and naloxone, the person may begin breathing normally, but may not wake up. More doses of naloxone should only be given if the person is not breathing normally (less than 10 breaths a minute). If the person is breathing normally but remains unconscious, place in recovery position and stay with them until emergency services arrive.

No matter what or how you use (smoking, snorting, injecting) take steps to prevent overdose

  • Know the risks when mixing drugs
  • If you must use while alone, consider using the Lifeguard app which can connect you with 911 emergency responders if you overdose. Download at the App Store or Google Play.   
  • When using your substance start with a small amount, and then go slow.
  • Use with others or at an Overdose Prevention or Supervised Consumption Site, if one is near you.
  • Know how to respond to an overdose – call 911, give rescue breaths and naloxone.

VERNON Community drug warning_03-06-22_Meth and benzos

KELOWNA Community drug warning_03-06-22_Meth and benzos

 

 

Drug Checking Report for Interior Health – April 2022 – BCCSU

The BCCSU publishes Provincial and regional monthly reports that summarize drug checking results. Here is the April 2022 report from samples collected by Drug Checking Sites across the Interior Health region.

Key Findings

The percentage of opioids testing positive for benzodiazepines in the region remained high
(71.1%, 54 of 76 samples), but trends may be hard to infer due the large geographic region.
Etizolam, the predominant benzodiazepine in expected opioids, may be missed by drug checking
technologies. This means that the true rate may be higher than reported here.

Find the full report here.

“What’s in My Drugs?” – BCCSU video on drug checking

BCCSU – Drug Checking in the DTES in Vancouver

This video produced by the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use depicts the process of using an Overdose Prevention site that offers drug checking.

 

Filmed at the Molson Overdose Prevention Site (MOPS) in Vancouver, BC, “What’s in My Drugs?” explains what happens when a person goes to a drug checking service.

Drug checking allows people to find out more about what is in their drugs, empowering people who use drugs to make better-informed decisions about their substance use. In this short documentary-style video, different workers on site are interviewed, such as a drug checking technician and expert, providing insight on why drug checking is an important harm reduction strategy for people who use drugs.

In loving memory of Ben Stevenson (1987 – 2022)