B.C.’s provincial health officer has written a letter, urging parents to speak to their children about the dangers of substance use, amidst the deaths of 19 youth from overdoses since 2016.
The letter will be distributed by schools across the province.
It asks parents to discuss the risks of overdoses, nearing the summer months when young people may experiment. “Non-judgmental and supportive conversations about substance use and overdose risks can save lives,” Kendall writes.
According to current statistics, fentanyl has been the cause of about two-thirds of overdoses in B.C., being detected alonsgide heroin, methadone and codeine as well as cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamines.
Seven people aged 10 to 18 years old have already overdosed this year, according to the most recent report from the BC Coroner, including a 16 year-old-girl from MDMA in New Westminster last month.
And while Dr. Kendall says this age group ins't high risk for OD deaths, similar increasing trend between 2016 and 17 stats already showing pic.twitter.com/yoQTOXpQvp— Ashley Wadhwani (@ashwadhwani) June 16, 2017
Contrary to some reports, fentanyl has not been found in marijuana, Kendall also writes.
He says that parents should remind their children of the new federal Good Samaritan law, which protects people from charges of possession if they call 9-1-1 to report an overdose, and train children on how to use nalaxone kits, if appropriate.
Friday’s letter comes at the same time as a regional conference being hosted by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, focussing on new strategies aimed at helping control the ongoing drug overdose crisis.