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Small B.C. city under ‘alert’ as deadly street drug circulates

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Drug users in a small Sunshine Coast city are being urged more than ever to have a safety plan in place, using only at their local overdose prevention site.

On Wednesday (Nov. 3), Powell River was put under an ‘alert’ by its local health authority, after traces of Flubromazolam were found in a batch of cocaine making the rounds.

According to Vancouver Coastal Health, the substance is a Benzodiazepine analog, which affects the nervous system. In a worst-case scenario, it can actually stop a person from breathing.

As the toxic drug crisis in British Columbia continues to take its toll, this latest ‘alert’ came on the heels of a deadly summer.

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In fact, this past July was marked the second-deadliest month on record in B.C., as the BC Coroners Service reported 184 toxic drug-related deaths over the 31-day span.

The province’s chief coroner released this data at the end of September. For Lisa Lapointe, it pointed to a stark reminder of the tragic trajectory of the ongoing public health emergency.

“Those at risk of dying come from all walks of life and live in every part of our province. If we truly want to save lives, an accessible range of solutions that reflects the breadth and scope of this crisis is urgently needed,” Lapointe said.

“This would include drug-checking services, safe consumption sites, meaningful access to life-saving safe supply, and the implementation of evidence-based standards of practice for the treatment of problematic substance use.”

In Powell River and beyond, along with using at local prevention sites, drug users are reminded to carry Naloxone, download the Lifeguard App, and to use with a friend, using a little at first. If using in a group, stagger doses.

READ MORE: Toxic drug crisis: July second-deadliest month on record in B.C.

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