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May 10 - 'Benzos' making it tougher for first-responders

Plus: Gardeners hit the soil this weekend and disturbance at UVic encampment

Good morning !

We had a poll question the day before yesterday: What do you think of the condition of Greater Victoria's roads?

The response was one-sided, with 28% saying they’re a mess. A further 30% of 821 votes said they’re getting worse every year. Only 9%, or 89 votes, said they’re actually in OK shape.


Today’s approx. read time: 5 minutes

🌡️ Weather Forecast

Today: ☀️ 21 / 9  

Tomorrow: ☀️ 22 / 10

Sunday: 🌤️ 21 / 8


Overdoses in BC more difficult to treat with rise of benzodiazepines in toxic drugs

Photo: Shutterstock

The BC Coroner’s Service has released data on toxic drug deaths in March, and the high number of overdoses in the province shows no signs of letting up. On the Island, there were 43 deaths, with 192 total for the province. In the first quarter of 2024, 128 Islanders and 572 people in BC died from toxic drugs.

The high rate of deaths has not gone unnoticed by those on the frontlines, particularly paramedics. Ian Tait, communications director for Ambulance Paramedics of BC (APBC), tells Capital Daily overdose calls have become commonplace. “Even with the numbers as bad as they are, we're reviving, like 50, sometimes 100, to one death,” said Tait, explaining that the “vast majority” of people are revived on scene.

“When we see that there's only a couple thousand deaths per year, we're like, ‘wow, there's only that many,’ because we do 100 [overdose calls] sometimes a day.”

Responding to overdoses has become increasingly difficult, with multiple substances mixed on the illicit market. One class of drugs, benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” has become increasingly linked to toxic drug deaths on the Island—they’re now found in nearly 50% of these deaths, compared to less than 10% before 2020. Naloxone is not designed to work on benzos, making it even harder to revive someone on the scene.

⚠️ Capital Bulletin

Royal Oak Fire Station: Take part in a jury to select public art for the new fire hall. Applications open until May 21.

Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google.


A good weekend to make your thumbs turn green

It’s a gardening weekend. Photo: Flickr

If you’re like many who’d rather not wait for the Victoria Day long weekend, you can get your gardening gloves and bulb planters out—this weekend is expected to be warm (20-22C) and there are plenty of places holding plant sales. The gardening stores in the Garden City have been doing their usual brisk spring business, and the city’s Get Growing, Victoria! program has distributed more seedlings grown in Beacon Hill Park. Since 2002, it has distributed 100K seedlings to various neighbourhoods.

So, if it’s time to get your plant on, we have some suggestions.
Let’s start with the Victoria Horticultural Society (VHS) Annual Plant Sale, where VHS members have dug up plants from their gardens to share with you. Whether you’re looking for annuals, perennials, native plants, fruits, or veggies, a variety of plants is in play from 10am to 2pm tomorrow at the Garth Homer Centre on Darwin, across from Save-On-Foods.

Over in Fairfield, folks at the beautiful Ross Bay Villa Historic House Museum have been tending to their blooming heritage gardens to grow greenery you can take home. We’re talking violets, sweet peas, sunflowers, geraniums, irises and forget-me-nots. There’s also an ever-changing and weather-dependent sale of household items and vintage treasures. Money raised supports Ross Bay Villa, a volunteer-run and owned 1865 historic house opposite Ross Bay Cemetery. The Ross Bay Villa annual plant sale runs 10am to 2pm at 1490 Fairfield. 

Then there’s the Compost Education Centre’s spring plant sale, which is all-organic. Tomorrow between 10am and 2pm at Fernwood’s Haegert Park, local farmers will offer various organically grown vegetable, flower, and herb seedlings to start your sowing season. They’ll have a robust selection of organically grown heirloom tomato varieties and organically grown vegetable starts from arugula to zucchini. There’s a parent-child workshop from 11am to 12pm.


At last, family-friendly health care

No endless wait to get in and appointments are never rushed. Warm, welcoming, and easy to access. A specialized team with big hearts and big brains. Focused on prevention instead of just reactive illness care.

⭐️ Capital Picks

🏆 Greater Victoria Business Awards: The Chamber of Commerce celebrates outstanding businesses and business people. [Recipients

💲Want a chance to win $100 at Country Grocer? Take Victoria's 2024 Vital Signs short-form citizen survey today. Double your chances to win by completing the long-form version!*

🍔 Burger Crush opens in Colwood: The burger and shake spot’s new location is 116-1901 Sooke Rd.

🎵 TONIGHT! Singer-songwriter Heather Ferguson brings her great style to Hermann’s Jazz Club at 7pm. Attila Fias, Scott White, Ryan Oliver, Owen Chow, and Jae Sinnett will be joining Heather on stage.*

🤝 Now hiring: Cash Accounting Clerk at The Butchart Gardens.

*Sponsored Listing

🗞️ In Other News

Rifflandia Sat. lineup announced with a little tender, loving care
TLC, Oliver Tree, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor will headline the music festival’s second day, with additional performances from Broken Social Scene, Maestro Fresh Wes, Aysanabee, K-OS, and more. Friday's lineup was announced last month and includes headline performances from DJ Rezz and Ja Rule. The festival’s final day lineup will be announced on May 30.  

UVic encampment says a strange man attacked students and faculty 
Protesters supporting Palestine say a man who opposes the camp has harassed them, assaulted/punched people on three occasions across May 7-8, and made death threats. They also say UVic has failed to warn campus members, protest-affiliated or not, of the danger. Saanich police have opened an investigation.[Times Colonist]

Unleashed dogs have ‘caused livestock fatalities,’ Comox regional district says
The CVRD also cites dogs harassing human parkgoers in a release announcing more bylaw enforcement (including $100 fines) on parks and trails. 

New reconciliation monument to go up at BC legislature
The province’s Reconciliation Action Plan aims to acknowledge past injustices provincial governments have inflicted and lists projects to make amends by 2028. One of the commitments is to erect a monument commemorating victims and survivors of the residential school system. [CHEK]

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🗓️ Things to do

🧵Presentation of the book Imperishable: Ukrainian symbolism in embroidery and jewelry, showcasing the risks taken by the Ukrainian people to express their national identity. Ukrainian Cultural Centre. Mon. 5:30pm. [Info]

 🖼️ Cordova Bay Art Group Show & Sale: Group members’ work in various mediums including watercolour, acrylic, oil, pastel, collage, mixed media, ink, pen, and pencil. Cordova Bay Elementary School. Tomorrow. 10am-3pm. [Info]

🌱 Macra-YAY Nights: Join us for a fun and creative macrame workshop to make a gorgeous plant hanger. White Spot Langford. Mon. 6-9pm. [Info]

🐦 World Migratory Bird Day: Rocky Point Bird Observatory (RPBO) invites everyone for a Migration Celebration at the Gorge Waterway Nature House in Esquimalt Gorge Park. Tomorrow. 10am-3pm. [Info]

👗 Elysium Fashion Showcase: Part of Design Week Victoria, Studio 531 Architects, the Pacific Design Academy, and Intention Wares Inc. invite you to a night of intention and design. Tomorrow. 546 Herald. 5:30-10:30pm. [Info

🪴 Spring Plant Sale: Compost Education Centre’s annual all-organic gathering. Bring a blanket to enjoy the music in the shade of the giant Sequoia tree. Entry by donation or free for CEC members. Dogs welcome. Haegert Park, Fernwood. Tomorrow. 10am-2pm. [Info]

🎶 42nd Annual Mother’s Day Self-Guided Musical Garden Tour: Victoria Conservatory of Music’s beloved celebration of mothers, music, and the vibrant garden culture of our beautiful City of Gardens. Tomorrow & Sun. 10am-4pm. [Info]

🎧 Document One: The drum and bass duo will be joined by Kytami & Phonik Ops at Capital Ballroom. Today. 9pm. [Info]

😂 Mark Normand: The comedian brings his “Ya Don’t Say” tour to the Royal Theatre. Today. 7pm & 9:30pm. [Info]

🎵 The Sutcliffes: The Beatles group will perform the band’s music from 1962-1970. Ya ya ya. Mary Winspear Centre. Today. 7:30pm. [Info]

🕺Jellyfish Dance Party: Dance along to house music with tunes from the Left Coast Crew DJs. Victoria Event Centre. Today. 8pm. [Info]

☂️ Mary Poppins: The musical based on the classic P.L. Travers novel and Disney film will be performed by Victoria on Stage. McPherson Playhouse. Today & tomorrow 7:30pm. Sun. 2pm. [Info]

👀 In Case You Missed It

Thursday’s headlines: No change to ICBC basic rate; Our Place aims to move people from Pandora; Cyclist accused of spitting into vehicle turns himself in; And more. [May 9

VNFC opens a medical clinic for Indigenous people in Greater Victoria. [Capital Daily

Buccaneer Days is back in Esquimalt this weekend. [Capital Daily

Cyberattacks detected on BC government networks: [CTV]

Language lesson: Learn words in Hul'q'umi'num from Cowichan (Quw'utsun) Tribes member, Jared Qwustenuxun Williams. [Video]

Decorated doors art auction from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores. On display at Mayfair and an online auction

Canuck bucks: NHL playoff run a boon for bars: [Times Colonist]

That’s it!

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