In the past week, Lethbridge first responders have been called out to 42 drug overdoses, 16 since Friday. That's prompting a serious public warning.
Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services and the Lethbridge Police Service are warning the public after a significant spike in overdose calls. Police believe a particularly potent batch of drugs – likely carfentanil – is currently available on the street and anyone using the drug needs to be aware and take precautions. Since last Monday (Feb. 19) EMS have responded to a total of 42 overdose calls – 16 of those on Friday alone. In some of the cases, what was initially reported as one overdose evolved multiple people on scene requiring treatment. Given the potency of the drugs, paramedics had to administer higher dosages of Naloxone in many of the cases. Deputy Fire Chief Dana Terry says is very concerning for our community and notes the number of called received this weekend was a significant jump from what EMS usually responds to. Terry says this signals that something different is going on and they need everyone to be aware and be prepared. Fire/EMS and Police are urging anyone who uses street drugs to be extra cautious. Lethbridge Police say if you are going to use drugs, never use alone; always have at least one other person present. Have a naloxone kit available and someone who can administer it and in the event of a suspected overdose call 911 immediately. Naloxone kits are available at pharmacies, community clinics and emergency departments. The Supervised Consumption Site, where drug users can be monitored while they ingest, inject, snort or inhale their drug of choice, is scheduled to open later this week and first responders are encouraging drug users to rely on the services that will be available to ensure their safety. Police efforts are ongoing to combat drug trafficking activity in the city and officers will continue to specifically target the suppliers and dealers. - Lethbridge Police/Fire Department Release