With rising overdoses, British Columbia expands experimental prescription initiative

published on September 10, 2021 by Elana Gordon in PRI

The Canadian province of British Columbia was already years into a public health emergency when COVID-19 arrived: deadly drug overdoses.

A main driver has been the quality of street drugs, which increasingly contain even more potent opioids analogs, like fentanyl, or other substances, like animal tranquilizers.

In response, Vancouver Coastal Health, the region’s main health system, started sending out text alerts if they discovered traces of other drugs laced in heroin or cocaine.

There were even warnings about this in bus ads and at bus stops, said Dr. Matthew Chow, a child psychiatrist in the suburbs of Vancouver, and president of Doctors of BC.

Still, over time, the drugs have become more and more toxic. Chow has lost several patients to overdoses. Across the province, thousands have died in recent years…

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