Spike of potential drug ODs on B.C. city’s party weekends

There were 30 potential overdoses two years in a row that week

Kelowna paramedics are dealing with a high volume of overdose calls during the city’s biggest party weekends.

Between July 23 and 29, paramedics were called to 30 potential overdose scenes, said Shannon Miller, communications officer for BC Emergency Heath Services. On average an average week, there are 20 potential overdose calls in Kelowna.

Narrowing down the timeframe for ODs further, Miller said that calls spiked on the July 27 weekend, where 17 total potential overdose calls were made— six calls were made on the Friday alone.

One suspected reason for the rise in ODs is the Center of Gravity festival which, on that same weekend, opened the flood gates for club kids who make their way to the Okanagan to dress up, dance, and potentially indulge in any number of substances.

Last year as it unfolded in the city there was a similar spike of potential OD calls with nine made on the opening day. The overall number of OD calls also reached 30 during the same week.

The difference between the two weekends, however, comes down to the death of a teenager at this year’s event.

Adison Davies, 16, died during the Friday of the event. That drugs were involved with the Kamloops girl’s death was confirmed by her friend Sam Thacker, who said she is one of two people he knows to have purchased the methamphetamine known as Molly and overdose.

Thacker told a Kamloops this Week reporter a friend of his said he and Davies had obtained some drugs at the festival.

“A few hours later, he was shaking and he came over to me and said, ‘I need help. I need help,’” Thacker said.

Thacker and others got the friend to the first-aid tent, where a team of doctors, nurses and paramedics went to work immediately. An ambulance was stationed nearby.

“They hit him with something,” Thacker said, likely an injection of Naloxone, which is used to temporarily reverse an overdose from opioids. His friend is heavier and stronger, which Sam suspects helped the teen react positively to the medical intervention.

A short time later he saw Davies being carried into the medical tent by two paramedics.

When asked for comment from Live Nation about a spike of overdoses on COG weekend, they re-issued the comment about Davies.

“Center of Gravity organizers can confirm that a female was treated onsite by BCEHS and the festival medical team on July 27 before being transported by ambulance to Kelowna General Hospital where she passed away. We are currently cooperating with local authorities as they investigate the situation. Our deepest condolences for the family and friends affected.”

While there may be some symetry when it comes to local call spikes and party events, Kelowna is not the only city that fared poorly that weekend and the issue gained the attention of the premier.

“To think that happened 130 times last week on one day is staggering for the public and speaks to the amount of work we have to do to get this scourge out of our cities and out of our province,” Premier John Horgan said to Canadian Press. “With respect to the timing of this latest rash of overdoses, it strikes me these numbers are unprecedented, and our job is to make sure we’re doing more in the days ahead.”

Related: GoFundMe set up for teen who died at COG

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran could not be reached for comment before publication about whether the city is aware of a link between a potential rise in OD calls on party weekends or not.

BC Emergency Health Services has projected that in Kelowna we will surpass the 1,000 calls for overdoses once again this year, in 2017 there were 1,040, in 2016 there were 785 and in 2015 there were 502.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@sydneyrmorton
sydney.morton@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A police officer speaks to a driver during last year’s Shift Into Winter event in Quesnel. The annual road check reminds drivers to slow down and be safe during winter. (Karen Powell Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
It’s time to Shift into Winter

The annual campaign offers winter driving tips

Jeff Malin nears the finish line Sunday, Oct. 11 in downtown Quesnel. (Lindsay Chung Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
No travel, no problem: Jeff Malin completes ninth marathon in Quesnel

The Quesnel firefighter has been running marathons since 2012

The owners of Motherlode Wash on Juniper Road in South Quesnel are hoping to construct a new wash building that would accommodate larger vehicles like RVs and semi-trucks. The new building would be two storeys and would match the existing buildings on the property. (Lindsay Chung Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
South Quesnel’s Motherlode Wash applies to add wash building for large vehicles

The new building will include three large-vehicle wash bays and one touchless wash tunnel

Sherry Jasper and Juerg Feldmann show off their third-place trophies from an outdoor Quesnel Pickleball Club tournament earlier this year. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel pickleball going back in the jar

The indoor season will kick off with strict COVID-19 prevention guidelines

Portrait of Dr. William Allen Jones - screen print with gold ink - (c) Bill Horne. (Photo Submitted)
Wells artist prints portrait of B.C.’s first dentist

Bill Horne hand-silk screened the portrait with 11 colours in an edition of just 54 as a fundraiser

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

The BC Ferries vessel the Queen of Oak Bay. (News Bulletin file photo)
‘Buy a boat,’ Horgan advises anti-maskers on BC Ferries

NDP leader John Horgan talks COVID-19 misinformation

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Family devastated as search for missing Manning Park hiker suspended

‘It was an extremely difficult meeting with the parents when we had to tell them.’

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, Cullen apologize for NDP candidate’s comments about Haida candidate

Nathan Cullen had made insensitive comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Six Mile Beach outside Nelson is known for its perfect sand, clear water and unique sand spit. But the drowning death of a man in July has residents asking if the dangerous spot has become too popular. Photo: David Grantham/Kootenay Drone Services
Dangerous oasis: The fatal history of a popular Kootenay Lake beach

Six Mile Beach near Nelson is known for its unique sand spit. But locals have feared it for decades

In this photo illustration, a provincial election mail-in ballot sealed in an Elections B.C. return envelope is seen before being deposited in a Canada Post mailbox, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The final result of British Columbia’s provincial election won’t be known for at least two weeks because more than 700-thousand mail-in ballots have to be counted by hand. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s snap election means 700k ballots will be counted manually, delaying results

Elections BC spokesman said employees in 87 electoral districts will count mail-in ballots one by one

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam takes part during a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. As parts of Canada face a new round of COVID-19-related restrictions, Canada’s chief public health officer is urging Canadians to continue making a “collective effort” to tackle the pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Chief public health officer calls for continued ‘collective effort’ against COVID-19

Canada continues to climb toward the 200,000 mark for COVID-19 cases

Most Read