As B.C.’s overdose crisis rages on, Island Health continues to report a jump in overdoses on Vancouver Island due to toxic drug supply.

It says opioids and stimulants are to blame in a handful of communities, with an “increased risk with both injection and inhalation.”

With this in mind, it’s extending the overdose advisories already in place for Campbell River, Nanaimo, Victoria, and the Comox Valley.

In Campbell River and Victoria, advisories were first issued on April 13th; Nanaimo and the Comox Valley saw advisories one week later on April 20th.

Because they’re issued for a seven-day period, this the second advisory extension for both Campbell River and Victoria, and the first for Nanaimo and the Comox Valley.

Meanwhile, the Cowichan Valley was hit with its first overdose advisory this past Saturday (April 24th).

If you use drugs, Island Health is urging you to stay safer by following these steps if someone overdoses:

  • Call 9-1-1 right away 
  • Provide rescue breathing
  • Give Naloxone

It’s also providing strategies for safer use:

  • Visit your local Overdose Prevention Service (OPS)
  • Have your drugs checked at your local OPS
  • Carry Naloxone and have an overdose response plan
  • Do a tester; try a little before your regular hit
  • Fix with a friend; if alone, be close to help
    • Try the LifeguardApp on your phone www.lifeguarddh.com
    • Call the National OD Response Service at 1 (888) 688-6677
  • Stagger your use with a friend, so someone can respond if needed

“Island Health asks everyone to create a safe space for respectful dialogue around substance use,” it adds.

“People from all walks of life use drugs for different reasons. We are all human. We all experience differing traumas and have different coping strategies. We all need connection and compassion. Starting a conversation could save a life.”

And if you or someone you know needs support, Island Health ensures there is help available. It says resources can be found here.