Equipping first responders with naloxone is among steps taken in an effort to reduce overdose fatalities.

Equipping first responders with naloxone is among steps taken in an effort to reduce overdose fatalities.

Overdose deaths in White Rock highlight need for discussion: Hogg

Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg says the impact of fentanyl 'isn't just a Downtown Eastside story'

In the wake of two recent overdose deaths in White Rock that police have linked to fentanyl, officials are exploring how they can help get the message out to Peninsula residents about the deadly narcotic.

And it’s a message that Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg said needs to get out without delay.

“I’d like to see it happen before Christmas,” Hogg said Wednesday. “I’d like to see it happen tonight… It affects everyone.”

Two men, aged 34 and 58, died last weekend in two separate overdose incidents: one on Saturday morning, at a home in the 15900-block of North Bluff Road where two children were present; and another early Sunday, at a home in the 15200-block of Marine Drive.

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Daryl Creighton told Peace Arch News Tuesday morning that a hospital blood test on one victim confirmed fentanyl was the only opioid in the man’s system, and that a witness told police the deceased had believed he was taking a combination of heroin and cocaine.

Police suspect the second victim believed he was taking heroin.

According to Creighton – who broached the idea of a community awareness effort with City of White Rock officials on Monday – the deaths were the seaside city’s first this year that have been linked to fentanyl; White Rock recorded just one such overdose fatality in all of 2015.

Across B.C., more than half of 622 illicit-drug overdose deaths this year (as of Oct. 31) have been linked to fentanyl.

But while Hogg Wednesday praised provincial-level efforts to tackle the problem – from the declaration of fentanyl as a public-health emergency, to the establishment of a task force and the equipping of first-responders with the overdose-reversing naloxone – he said for many, the dangers have yet to strike a chord.

He’s hoping those who have been impacted locally will step forward to share their stories in some form of community forum; to put a face on the issue and “make people realize this isn’t just a Downtown Eastside story, which often (is how) the news portray(s) it.

“In our community, this tragedy just reinforces the impact it has,” he said. “Until you’ve realized that, until you have somebody that you know who’s been impacted by that… I don’t think it has that impact.

“Certainly knowing that a (man) with two children in his home tragically died in our community – a visual picture of that will have an impact.”

White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin said his city would support a local initiative, but that it makes sense for Surrey to take the lead given that the majority of Peninsula residents reside in the neighbouring municipality.

He described the recent deaths as “so tragic,” and suspected as the result of one supplier, but said the issue is one that is difficult to tackle at a local level.

Hogg, a former probation officer and youth detention centre warden, said he hasn’t seen anything that has been as pervasive as fentanyl.

He said his office has reached out to police officials in Surrey and White Rock, as well as Sources Community Resource Centres regarding raising community awareness locally. Fraser Health Authority and Surrey School District should also be involved, he said.

Anyone affected by the issue who would be willing to share their story with the community may contact Hogg’s office at 604-542-3930.

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

Just Posted

Police responded to a report of a shooting in the 1300-block of 176 Street at around 7:15 p.m. on June 3, 2017. (File photo)
Trial dates set for senior charged in 2017 ‘targeted’ South Surrey shooting

Jury trial for Kenneth Turpin scheduled to begin Oct. 25

Earl Marriott Secondary alumna Tanis Orsetti has received a $15,000 Cmolik Graduate Studies Scholarship to further her studies in the field of medicine. (File/Contributed photo)
Earl Marriott alumna selected for new $15K scholarship

Tanis Orsetti is studying the use immunotherapy in cancer treatment

Eternity Medical Equipment’s ECAN95 masks have received Health Canada approval and CSA certification. (Eternity Medical Equipment photo)
South Surrey N-95 equivalent manufacturer launches mask recycling program

Eternity Medical Equipment partners with Ontario-based LifeCycle Revive

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Most Read