Seven people overdosed after consuming illicit drugs at a party in Vancouver's West End Friday night, police say.
First responders arrived at the Jervis Street apartment in time to successfully treat the group, whose ages ranged from 25 to 42, with multiple doses of naloxone, according to a statement issued by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Saturday.
The adults reportedly overdosed after using cocaine and MDMA.
Const. Jason Doucette said BC Ambulance notified police at around 12:20 a.m. Saturday morning, asking for assistance after receiving a call about multiple overdoses.
According to the release, police arrived to the scene to find "at least" five people in the apartment in serious medical distress, in addition to others outside of the suite who also required assistance. Both paramedics and VPD officers administered several doses of naloxone, a medicine capable of rapidly and temporarily reversing the effects of an opioid overdose.
The incident prompted a warning from police about "the dangers involved in illicit drug use,” said Doucette.
"The local supply chain is clearly contaminated, and we are reminding everyone, including recreational users, to exercise extreme caution when deciding to consume street drugs," he added.
#VPDnews: #VPD warning drug users to exercise extreme caution if using street drugs, after paramedics and VPD officers gave multiple doses of naloxone to seven people who overdosed at a party last night. All seven were taken to hospital. https://t.co/Qz4hPMZ3Q9 pic.twitter.com/EnAiIBgSu1— Vancouver Police (@VancouverPD) November 28, 2020
According to new statistics released Wednesday by the BC Coroners Service, the number of overdose deaths in B.C. reached 1,386 between January and October of this year.
The new statistics equate to more than five people per day dying of an overdose in the province, with extreme concentrations of fentanyl still present in the drug supply, according to the coroners’ service data.
Earlier this month, Surrey RCMP issued a statement after three people in that community died of suspected overdoses within a span of just 12 hours.
Those fatalities prompted a warning from police about what they suspected to be a deadly batch of drugs circulating in the region.
VPD officers do not typically attend overdose calls, Doucette said, but were initially dispatched to the West End scene early Saturday morning to "ensure a safe environment for everyone involved," considering the staggering number of reported casualties.
The seven adults were taken to hospital for further medical assessment.
- With files from Mike Howell and the Canadian Press