Drug overdose cases in Langley City have risen 500 per cent since 2015, according to a report by fire chief Rory Thompson. File photo

Drug overdoses projected to rise 500 per cent in Langley City

Fire department report shows “significant” incraese: RCMP report deadlier Carfentanil now in the Langleys

Drug overdose cases are projected to increase 500 per cent in Langley City.

City fire chief Rory Thompson told Monday night’s city council meeting the number of overdose calls handled by city firefighters rose from 80 overdoses in 2015 to 228 in 2016.

So far this year, there have been 178 cases, and the fire department expects the final tally will be about five times higher than it was in 2015.

“This continues to be significant,” Thompson told council.

“It continues to grow.”

Thompson noted that the Fraser Health Authority has found the majority of cases are not homeless, that 70 per cent of overdose patients treated at the ER “have a home.”

Thompson told The Times that all City firefighters, including paid on-call firefighters, have been trained in the administration of the anti-overdose naloxone drug (Langley RCMP have also been trained).

“There’s all sorts of different sorts of combinations of drugs that we’re seeing on the street, including the fentanyl (a synthetic drug that is extremely potent and considered the main cause of the spike in overdose cases) being mixed in with other products,” Thompson said.

“Sometimes we’re seeing heroin that’s mixed with PCP, heroin that’s mixed with fentanyl.”

“The quality and consistency of the product they’re buying is not there,” Thompson said.

“In some cases they (users) could take it and have a normal reaction to taking drugs and some cases (they are) turning into fatalities, unfortunately.”

Thompson was asked if the rising number of overdoses, some of them fatal, has meant increased stress for firefighters.

“It certainly does,” Thompson said.

“Our firefighters are typically a very caring lot and you know it certainly does take a bit of a toll when you constantly see people that are in medical distress. “

Thompson said the Langley City fire department is working with other agencies to combat overdoses.

“This really is a community problem and it is going to take the community working together to come up with solutions.”

At the same Monday council meeting, the officer in charge of the Langley RCMP detachment, Supt. Murray Power told council that Carfentinil, a synthetic large animal sedative that is far more powerful than fentanyl, has been identified in the Langleys by drug enforcement investigators who have seized it from local drug dealers.

“Carfentinil is here, unfortunately and that’s going to increase risk levels for users and front line officers alike,” Power said.

Deaths from drug overdoses have been averaging more than 100 a month in B.C. since 2016.

Figures from the BC Coroners Service show the proportion of illicit drug deaths where fentanyl was detected continues to climb. Last year, roughly 60 per cent of of these deaths included fentanyl, but that number has risen to 72 per cent through the first four months of 2017.

Carfentinil, which can be fatal in very small amounts when it is used as an additive to street drugs, is believed to have first arrived in Metro Vancouver in November of 2016.

In January, tests confirmed its presence in drug treatment centres in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Maple Ridge and Richmond.

Just Posted

UPDATE: 10-20 cm of snow expected Friday in Lower Mainland

Snowfall warning in effect from North Shore mountains out to Hope

VIDEO: Flames consume small building at Langley Events Centre

Thursday afternoon demo shows the importance of having sprinklers installed

Langley program helps youth find their employment niche

The first session of Skills to Success youth employment program wrapped up and a second has started.

Charges laid in 2016 Mission crash that killed Langley teenager

Lidia Ramos died when the car she was riding in slipped off a logging road in heavy rain

Two Langley fire trucks collide on black ice

The fire trucks were being used to block vehicles from icy hill when they started sliding

B.C. Games open with Olympic touch

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games kicked off in Kamloops

Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping at Olympics

Russian Bobsled Federation states a drug-test sample that pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva gave on Sunday was positive.

Indigenous leaders call for change after ‘system fails’ Tina Fontaine

‘All of us should be ashamed’: Calls for change after jury finds Raymond Cormier not guilty

Atwal fiasco dogs Trudeau; PM pledges a ‘conversation’ with MP responsible

Trudeau is being peppered with questions about the lingering controversy

Germany upsets Canada in Olympic men’s hockey

Germany 4 Canada 3; Germans play OAR for gold; Canada and Czechs go for bronze

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

Evacuated cat finds his way home seven months after B.C. wildfires

‘He just decided he was going on a holiday — an extended holiday’

More snow expected on the Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says five to 10 centimetres will come down between Friday and Saturday mornings

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Most Read