No need for supervised injection: Langley City mayor

Overdoses are up, but may be slowly returning to normal levels.

There are no discussions about a supervised drug injection site for Langley – though overdoses in the community have risen.

Fraser Health recently issued a statement calling for more supervised injection sites, like the two in Vancouver, to help combat a rash of fatal drug overdoses.

Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer said he saw Dr. Victoria Lee of Fraser Health a few days ago, and there was no discussion of a site in Langley.

Over the most recent weekend, there were four overdoses attended by the city’s firefighters, three with pills, said Schaffer.

Much of the increase in overdoses is being blamed on fentanyl, a powerful opioid drug that has been mixed with or sold as heroin.

Statistics released last week by the B.C. Coroner’s Service showed that the Langleys have had five fentanyl-related overdose deaths in 2016, up to May 31.

That compares to six in all of 2016, five in 2014, and just one each in 2012 and 2013.

Overall drug overdose deaths from January to June hit 13 in Langley.

That is sharply up from 2015, which saw 10 fatal overdoses of all kinds.

“In the majority of deaths, fentanyl was detected in combination with other drugs,” according to the report.

The City has responded to the fentanyl surge by voting to allow the fire department to use naloxone, a chemical that can counteract the effects of an opioid overdose. Numerous Lower Mainland fire departments have been equipping with naloxone kits in the last year.

Regionally, there is some reason to believe that the epidemic of overdose deaths is receding.

January of this year was the worst month in years for fatal illicit drug overdoses, with 77 deaths in B.C.

That had dropped to 42 for May, which was fewer than in any of the previous four months, and approximately consistent with the same months in 2014 and 2015.

However, a spate of 36 overdoses in two days in Surrey’s Whalley neighbourhood revived fears.

 

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