Media Contacts

Barb McLintock

Coroner, Strategic Programs
BC Coroners Service
250 356-9253 or 250 213-5020


Reducing the risk of overdose

The surest way to avoid an overdose is to refrain from the use of illicit drugs or other drugs bought on the street.

If, however, you do use illicit drugs, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of overdose. They include:

  • Never use alone. Ensure someone is with you who can obtain medical help if needed.
  • Inject slowly.
  • If you are in the Vancouver area, especially the Downtown Eastside, try to use at InSite where there are medical personnel on site to provide help if needed.
  • Do not mix drugs, or mix drugs and alcohol, as this increases the likelihood of an overdose.
  • Keep an eye out for your friends. Learn to recognize the signs of an opiate overdose, such as severe sleepiness, heavy snoring, or slow, shallow breathing. If you spot such signs, call 911. This is a medical emergency.
  • Learn about naloxone. If you are a regular user of opioids, you may be eligible for a prescription from your doctor for naloxone which can be used as an antidote in the case of an overdose of fentanyl, heroin, or other opiate.