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News Articles: Victoria deaths could be linked to tainted drugs
Enforcement Victoria deaths could be linked to tainted drugs

Vancouver Island South * Police concerned about tainted cocaine in wake of recent deaths

Cocaine on Victoria streets could be laced with dangerous substances, people close to the city's street community say.

In the wake of two similar but unrelated deaths that saw a Victoria woman and Saanich man dead after taking cocaine, a volunteer with AIDS Vancouver Island said he's heard of cocaine being cut with crystal meth.

Gino, who didn't want his last name used, helps AVI pick up used drug paraphernalia around the city.

He said he's concerned the combination of cocaine and crystal meth could be a danger to drug users.

The 24-year-old woman died in a suite in the supportive housing unit above the former StreetLink shelter on Swift Street at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The man died at a house on Carey Road later the same day. Both had used cocaine that day.

A third death, a 20-year-old man found not breathing in a View Towers unit at 1147 Quadra St. on Monday, is also suspicious. Victoria police said the man is a known drug user, but haven't linked his death to drugs.

"Right now, it's premature to say there's bad drugs out there ... so we don't want to ring alarm bells yet," said Sgt. Grant Hamilton, a VicPD spokesperson.

But social service agencies have warned their clients to be aware of tainted drugs.

"It's usually outsiders coming in to make a fast buck because they hear the news (of drug dealers being arrested) to exploit the addicted," said Karen Dennis, executive director of Victoria AIDS Resource and Community Service Society. She added they may not hesitate to lace their drugs to stretch their sales.

Autopsies and toxicology reports are expected to pinpoint the three people's causes of death.

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