A spike in reports of fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses in the Cowichan Valley has resulted in a warning from Island Health.

Medical Health Officer Dr. Shannon Waters says overdose emergencies rose last week, mostly likely due to potent drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil being added to drugs.

However, she says there’s also a new factor: “People who are using alone are far more at risk and in this time of physical distancing. more than likely more people are using alone.”

Dr. Waters says that’s a new problem they’re encountering when dealing with the opioid crisis and says it is something they are watching very closely.

Dr. Waters recommends that users do not take drugs alone and that they also take their supply of drugs to an overdose prevention site for testing to be sure of what is in it.

The Cowichan Valley and Vancouver Island have seen an increase in both fatal and non-fatal overdoses during the last few weeks.

In addition, more severe overdoses are being reported.