An old drug re-emerges in Nova Scotia overdose deaths – CBC

Experts say wider look at overdoses needed as cocaine-related deaths rise

Oct 31, 2023

An illegal drug that’s been around for decades has quietly become implicated in a growing number of overdose deaths in Nova Scotia, according to data that suggests the public discussion around drug fatalities needs to broaden beyond the focus on potent opioids.

Overdose deaths in the province linked to cocaine have risen significantly in recent years, mirroring a trend in other jurisdictions, including the United States where they are seeing more deaths involving a mix of opioids and stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

“It’s very early days in whatever this is, but it’s something to watch carefully,” Dr. Matthew Bowes, Nova Scotia’s chief medical examiner, said of the province’s cocaine overdose numbers.

Nearly half of the 79 accidental overdose deaths last year in Nova Scotia involved cocaine, a threefold increase from 10 years ago when it played a much smaller role in drug fatalities.

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