Whitehorse Daily Star

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Yukon’s chief coroner Heather Jones

Drug-related deaths spur warning

Heather Jones, the Yukon’s chief coroner, and Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, the territory’s acting chief medical health officer, are cautioning Yukoners about drug use after three recent deaths linked to opioids.

By Whitehorse Star on December 11, 2019

Heather Jones, the Yukon’s chief coroner, and Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, the territory’s acting chief medical health officer, are cautioning Yukoners about drug use after three recent deaths linked to opioids.

Between Nov. 9 and Nov. 30, three individuals died from drugs contaminated with fentanyl, the two offices said Tuesday afternoon.

They do not release names, genders nor ages in these cases.

The medical health office has also received information around a recent increase in opioid overdoses that have not resulted in death.

“Yukon’s illegal drug supply contains fentanyl,” Delli Pizzi said in a statement.

“A very small amount of fentanyl can kill a person, and the contaminated drugs may distribute throughout the territory.

“Our families and communities continue to grieve as the opioid epidemic takes more loved ones from us. People who use drugs should not use them alone.”

In Whitehorse, he noted, people can connect with the Blood Ties Four Directions Centre for support and to have drugs tested for fentanyl.

In smaller communities, people can contact their health centre for help.

“We have major concerns that illicit drugs circulating in Yukon currently contain fentanyl, and a very small amount of fentanyl can be fatal,” Jone said.

“It is important that we re-emphasize the danger associated with drug use and the need to take precautions to minimize the risk of severe outcomes of overdose or death.”

From 2016 to 2018, the Yukon had a total of 20 opioid-related deaths, with 15 being attributed to fentanyl.

Almost three quarters of the deaths over that period were men, which generally aligns with national estimates.

Those estimates showed an increase in opioid-related deaths in Canada between 2016 and 2018.

Data from the first quarter of 2019 demonstrate a similar number of deaths to the first quarter of 2018.

Comments (13)

Up 1 Down 0

no pusher on Dec 17, 2019 at 3:55 pm


What alternative universe do you live in? Have you seen our jail? No 'pusher' is waiting outside for a guy to be let out every week or so.
Pushing something requires an effort. Drugs sell themselves because people actually want them. The people selling them are drug DEALERS and they aren't forcing anyone to use their product

Up 9 Down 1

Jayne W on Dec 16, 2019 at 5:45 pm

@no pusher..... yes that is what they are called. They wait outside the Sarah Steele Building waiting for you to come out clean after 30 days and offer you a little something......that is a pusher of drugs. They wait outside the jails for you and offer to help you out to celebrate getting out of jail....again that is a pusher of drugs. They wander in the parking lots with their back packs pushing drugs. I am not sure what else to call them besides that.

Up 7 Down 2

Tater on Dec 16, 2019 at 1:22 pm

Well, maybe these drug dealers should be charged with a capital crime like second degree murder if they sell drugs which result in death. Hard to proove and scheister lawyers would get them off......

Up 14 Down 4

Groucho d'North on Dec 15, 2019 at 3:36 pm

Selling drugs is a vocation that requires very little training and if done well will provide a steady and reliable income. The hours are your choice of when you wish to work, where and for how long. Compared to a choice of labouring in a mine, sawmill or slinging burgers at a drive-in, many choose selling dope because of the many perks within the industry: You always have a pocket full of cash, the dumber dealers often use what they sell, you can trade drugs for sex, you are welcomed at parties and are frequently invited.
Of course there are plenty of down-sides to this vocation as well, like the recent murders, beatings and similar enforcement methods used in the industry.
Selling dope is quick money with minimal effort and appeals to many young people who believe they will live forever, or at a minimum will not get caught anytime soon.
Selling a buzz is celebrated in popular culture similar to how names like Seagram, Molson, and Smirnoff are revered as Gods of industry.
50 Cent said "Get rich or die trying" for many young people, this is all the validation they need.
How can it be bad? The Canadian government made it legal so they too can profit by selling people a short break from reality and all the challenges they may be suffering from, it's worked with booze for a couple hundred years, why would cannabis be any different?

Up 24 Down 16

no pusher on Dec 13, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Please top using the word 'pusher'. They don't exist aside from in Reefer Madness hysteria movies and mindsets.
Drugs sell themselves. When there is demand someone will always step into supply. No one is forcing anyone to use drugs, people want them.

Up 55 Down 5

Guncache on Dec 12, 2019 at 7:27 pm

Here is a novel idea. Don't partake of illicit drugs, don't die. The Minister of Health is quick to pump mega dollars into treating drug addicts every week and picking them up in the ambulance every week but have no problem letting good people like Terry Coventry die.

Up 36 Down 3

Miles Epanhauser on Dec 12, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Fine line between pusher and poisoner.

Up 54 Down 6

Juniper Jackson on Dec 11, 2019 at 11:13 pm

As long as there is a market, pushers, dealers, shooters, rapists, human trafficing will all be here. Drugs are the king pin that most other crimes fall under. Throw this pusher in jail for 10 years? There's another one on the next corner. People want these drugs. Everyone knows the dangers of street drugs, but they want them anyway. For the most part, MY tax money is paying for their welfare money with which they buy their drugs, booze, even cigarettes. For other places, the cost is so tremendous, the applicants have to turn in a drug test, and be clean of alcohol before they get taxpayers money..but here? Give me more money seems to do the trick. Like everyone else, I'm sick of having my car ransacked, my place broken into. Everyone should have a warm place to die. Do drugs? and you might not even get that.. just another junkie dead in an alley. There are millions and millions of dollars in rehab facilities..if you don't want that for yourself, go to one of those facilities and get clean..I'll help you with that..but I won't help you get more drugs.

Up 67 Down 4

jc on Dec 11, 2019 at 9:52 pm

What angers me most is that the police conduct investigations that take years to complete, all because the law demands too much. In the meantime, hundreds of young lives are lost and drug lords collect millions. When the investigations are completed and it goes to court, most times the perps get less time than it took to do the investigation. So, I blame the dysfunctional system and the judges. In my opinion, a judge who can't put the protection of the innocent first, shouldn't be on the bench. The revolving door method including the phony Gladue thing of creating more victims has to stop.

Up 52 Down 6

Dave on Dec 11, 2019 at 9:37 pm

A picture is worth a thousand words. Show the faces of those who died. This will be far more of a deterrent than the words “a small amount of fentanyl can be fatal.” We all know these things. People who use it know these things. We need to send a more powerful message.

Up 44 Down 3

Air Quotes - I am not a criminal! on Dec 11, 2019 at 6:51 pm

How about we reconsider the idea that drug use is a victimless crime... With recent shooting and all...

I did not realize that On Yukon Time was a tourist advertisement. I thought it referred to our criminal justice system. You’re in and you’re out, you’re caught and you’re bold...

You’ll hear more justice in a rap song!

Up 55 Down 3

Nicky on Dec 11, 2019 at 6:39 pm

While you're at it warn addicts about alcohol use especially while pregnant, and the dangers of jaywalking too. Those education programs have been so successful why not opioid education too?
There is only one effective cure for stupidity and at least 10 people per year find it.
If the govt wants to control street drugs then make the penalties harsh and severe for dealers. Our catch-and-release legal business is only enabling the drug economy, and justice is seldom served.

Up 86 Down 7

Russ Hobbis on Dec 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm

Minimum sentence for dealers needs to be increased to 10 years and suppliers even more, they are profiting off the suffering of others, which trickles down to most of the property crimes. Everyone knows what businesses are nothing more than money laundering - get your drink at a different bar by your clothes somewhere else. It’s time to say enough, if justice system isn’t going to do anything maybe it’s time to put down your phone cupcake and break some heads.

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