Canada's opioid crisis just experienced one of its darkest days, when nine Vancouverites died in suspected fentanyl overdoses.
BC police say the number may be as high as 13 across the country.
"Can you imagine nine people dying from any other cause in one day in our city," Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer said at a press conference.
The problem is a national one but ground zero for the opiod crisis is in western Canada. The Vancouver Coastal Health emergency departments alone have reported 6,016 illicit or unknown drug ODs between January 1 and November 26 of this year.
Of those, 1,679 were recorded as opioid overdoses. Many of the fentanyl overdoses occur when the user does not know they they are using the drug as it is often found in heroin or cocaine.
It is estimated that 1,300 people take opiods in the city each day, Vancouver's Mayor Gregor Robertson, also at the press conference, laid out the grim reality of the situation that the city, and province, now find themselves.
"Thirteen hundred people on any given day are playing Russian roulette with fentanyl. It's desperate times in Vancouver right now, and it's hard to see any silver lining when we don't seem to have hit rock bottom."
Toxicology reports have yet to be conducted on the victims but police say fentanyl is strongly suspected in all the deaths.
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