B.C. overdose warning system aims to alert users about potentially deadly drugs
published on July 11, 2017 by The Canadian Press in CFJC Today
VANCOUVER – Medical health officers in the Vancouver area are aiming to quickly warn drug users about clusters of overdoses and batches of contaminated drugs based on reports from people who use illegal substances.
Sara Young, the regional leader of mental health and substance use for Vancouver Coastal Health, said the data would help staff decide what action needs to be taken to prevent fatal overdoses in the midst of an opioid overdose crisis.
The pilot project started Tuesday with an online web form and a texting service that can be used by people who have registered to receive alerts, said Young, who worked with substance users to create the alert process.
Dr. Thomas Kerr, associate director of the BC Centre on Substance Use, said involving drug users, who are the experts on issues directly affect them, would be useful among other efforts underway during the overdose crisis that has claimed so many lives.
“The technology side is maybe a little bit different, Kerr said. “I worry about who will get missed because of that requirement of participation but I think any information that can be brought to bear on the response is helpful.€
The RADAR project, which was launched as part of a joint task force last summer in response to the provincial overdose response, could be expanded across Canada, Young said.
British Columbia declared a public health emergency in April 2016 as the painkiller fentanyl was increasingly detected in multiple fatalities.View the full article