The Yukon’s chief coroner is investigating a presumed drug-related death that occurred in Carcross over the weekend.
The coroner also confirmed that a string of deaths earlier in the month were caused by illicit drugs.
The three deaths that occurred between Jan. 15 and 19 are now confirmed to have resulted from illicit drug use based on toxicology reports. The coroner confirmed that fentanyl was present in all three cases. Cocaine and benzodiazepines were also present in two of the cases.
“This means that eight individuals, pending toxicology on one case, have tragically died between January 3 and 23, 2022, due to illicit drugs use,” a statement from the coroner’s service reads.
“As Chief Coroner, and as a member of our Yukon community, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have died,” said chief coroner Heather Jones.
“The weight of grief before us is truly heartbreaking. I ask everyone to be compassionate as we mourn these tragic deaths and work together to create the change that is needed to alter our course.”
Jones urged anyone using drugs or needing support with substance use to access available resources and to avoid using drugs alone.
The coroner’s service release contains information on a variety of supports for those seeking support with drug use or grieving a loss.
Options offered for not using alone are: The Yukon’s supervised consumption site is located in Whitehorse and the National Overdose Response Service, a confidential phone service available at 1-888-688-6677 24 hours a day, seven days a week where a volunteer will stay on the line to ensure the drug user is okay.
Treatment services are available at 867-668-2552 or at the Referred Care Clinic at 210 Elliott Street in Whitehorse.
Yukoners who have questions on opioid, naloxone and training, as well as harm reduction information, can contact the Opioid Overdose Prevention Coordinator at the Referred Care Clinic by phone at 867-332-0722 or by email at OOPC@yukon.ca.
Yukoners who are interested in changing or managing their opioid drug use with the help of medical intervention, the opioid treatment services clinic can help call to book an appointment at 867-668-2552. The medical team at the Opioid Treatment Services Program can assess, prescribe and support clients who may benefit from a safer supply of opioids.
Additional supports are available by contacting Mental Wellness and Substance Use at 867-456-3838 or at Withdrawal Management at 867-667-8473. Withdrawal Management is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For anyone grieving a loss, support is available through Hospice Yukon at 867-667-7429 or at 409 Jarvis Street in Whitehorse.
Rapid Access Counselling is available for people with mental wellness and substance use issues by calling 867-456-3838.