Pubdate: Tue, 11 Jul 2017
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Nick Eagland
Page: 6


When a toxic batch of drugs is triggering potentially fatal overdoses,
one of the most crucial antidotes is to get the word out as fast as
possible to alert other users.

A new research project to develop a more speedy way to communicate
information about clusters of drug overdoses will be announced today
by Vancouver Coastal Health and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

"Vancouver Coastal's pilot project will give medical health officers
access to what's happening when it's happening," provincial health
officer Perry Kendall said in a statement. "This real time information
will help them decide and put into place an immediate course of action
to prevent overdoses."

The Real-time Drug Alert & Response (Radar) project will include an
online web form and a number to text (236999-3673 DOPE) so people can
report the date of an overdose, where the substance was purchased,
what type of drugs the users thought they were buying, and a physical
description of what they bought. A photo of the drug or its packaging
can also be uploaded.

The information can be anonymous, as those filing reports will not be
required to leave a name.

Right now, it can take one to two weeks for data about contaminated
drugs to get to front-line workers, who then pass it onto addicts.
Research organizers hope this new project will vastly speed up that

Between Jan. 1 and May 31 this year, 640 people in British Columbia
died of illicit overdose deaths - a massive increase over the same
time frame in previous years due to the presence of fentanyl in many
of the drugs.
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