Police chief warns drug users of fentanyl as Shambhala draws near
Nelson Police vehicle (Alex Skultety, MyNelsonNow.com)
NELSON, B.C – With less than two weeks left to Shambhala, local police are hoping for another year without overdose deaths.
However, the numbers are pointing in a concerning direction.
A new report from Vancouver Coastal Health released last week shows a six percent increase of fentanyl-related overdose deaths compared to last year.
The majority of overdose deaths have a direct connection to the opioid, found in street drugs such as heroin – but also party drugs like cocaine.
The statistics have Nelson police chief Paul Burkhart worried.
“There is no doubt there is fentanyl in our community”, he told MyNelsonNow.com.
Burkhart says a recent death in Nelson is suspected to be related to fentanyl but adds they are still awaiting the final report from the coroner.
“We just want to remind people to take precautions”, Burkart says, pointing out there is an overdose prevention site in Nelson.
While Shambhala claims to be a drug- and alcohol free event, the festival has invested heavily in harm reduction services, such as drug testing.
Something every user should take advantage of, Burkart says.
However, there is a scenario he would rather see.
“Our first choice would, of course, be to not use at all”.