Abbotsford Police has reported five deaths due to overdoses in just one day.
Police say that the overdose deaths of people ages 40 to 67 over the course of nine hours Friday is a reminder that the opioid crisis does not only apply to the stereotype of young people in back alleys.
The three men and two women all died alone.
Cst. Ian MacDonald said it’s time for the public to change their mindset about who drug users are because it is “an across-the-board problem.”
He stressed, “There are a gamut of people who are addicted to various drugs, many who are addicted to opioids and certainly based on provincial data, this isn’t a back alley problem, this is an inside structures, inside houses, inside residences problem.”
Though it is too soon to say that fentanyl or carfentanil caused the people’s deaths, MacDonald said the sudden surge in overdoses signals the possibility that an extremely toxic batch of drugs is currently circulating on the streets.
Unlike Vancouver and Surrey, MacDonald said Abbotsford does not have a safe consumption site.
The latest figures for 2017 show fentanyl was detected either alone or with another drug in more than 80 per cent of the deaths. In 2012, fentanyl was detected in just four per cent of overdose deaths.
Police said that while it has become the norm to see a large number of overdoses in a short period of time due to the ongoing opioid crisis across the province, seeing so many deaths at once is still alarming and marks a record for the city.