A new health alert system is now available across Interior Health in response to the ongoing toxic drug emergency.
The Toxic Drug Alerts system sends text alerts as a public health measure to prevent drug poisonings and deaths.
It also gives timely information and up-to-date resources to people who use drugs and community members.
“This is a new service that we’re adding to our toolbox,” Jessica Bridgeman, Interior Health sexual health and harm reduction manager said, “and it’s really aimed to increase awareness of drug toxicity as well as harm reduction and community support in the area.”
Interior Health said people who use drugs, those who support them, and community members are encouraged to opt-in for toxic drug alerts by sending the keyword JOIN to ALERTS (253787).
“You will get short text messages sent right to your phone in the event that the Health Authority issues an alert related to drug overdose increases or maybe a specific toxic substance,” Bridgeman said.
Interior Health is the first Health Authority to be launching the new system which is developed by the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Office of Virtual Health at the Provincial Health Services Authority in partnership with regional health authorities.
Interior Health said the alert system is expected to expand to additional health authorities later this summer.
“Timely and targeted information regarding the current drug supply is vital when we are seeing the toxicity of illicit drugs increase at an alarming rate.” Bridgeman noted, “Alerts will help people make better-informed decisions and ultimately help reduce harms, including overdose and death, from poisoned drugs.”