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Northern drug users can now receive toxic drug alerts via text

Move is latest in bid to curb overdoses
Toxic drug alerts can now be received via texts in northern B.C. (File photo)

Northern B.C. drug users with cellphones can now receive texts informing them of toxic drug and poisoning alerts.

The alerts are intended as a further measure to reduce overdoses and poisonings.

“This includes information such as the dates and locations of drug overdoses, physical descriptions of the drug and packaging, where the substance was purchased, and what it is believed to be – and can be submitted by texting using the keyword OD,” a Northern Health Authority release indicates.

“It is our hope that this tool will further empower people who use substances to do so more safely, as part of the ongoing effort to reduce the rates of drug poisonings from an increasingly toxic supply of illicit drugs,” said Northern Health chief medical health officer Dr. Jong Kim.

Anyone can sign up to the service by texting the keyword JOIN to ALERTS (253787).

Those who sign up can also send information anonymously so health officials can make alerts as informative and timely as possible.

The text system comes as northern B.C. continues to record high overdose incidents and deaths.

Three other health authorities — Interior Health, Fraser Health and Island Health — already use a text system to send out alerts. Interior Health was the first to use texts beginning in May 2022 and more than 30 alerts have already been sent out.

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About the Author: Rod Link

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