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‘You never know what’s going to show up:’ Island Health warns about drugs at grad parties

Parksville, BC, Canada / The Lounge 99.9

PARKSVILLE — Island Health is encouraging parents to have a different conversation with their children this year about grad parties.

Medical health officer Dr. Paul Hasselback said while getting drunk at a party is still a major concern, parents need to talk about drugs and what might be in them.

“You’re never sure what’s going to show up at a party,” he told NanaimoNewsNOW.

Island Health said fentanyl, which is the drug behind many of the illicit overdose deaths ravaging B.C. and Nanaimo, has poisoned virtually every level of the drug supply and users can now never be sure of what they’re taking.

Dr. Hasselback said raising issues about hard drugs can be awkward for parents, but even an awkard conversation helps more than no conversation at all.

“I think the flaw parents tend to have is to think that someone else is going to take care of it, or they’re going to hear about it from the school, or they don’t have to worry about it because their student isn’t going to engage in these sorts of activities. That’s something we all have to get by.”

His best tip for parents to facilitate a conversation with their kids about drugs was to just overcome any hurdles or anxiety and just start talking about it.

Grad party season is often marked by avoidable incidents and possibly tragedies, Dr. Hasselback said.

To make sure everyone makes it home and gets a chance to capitalize on their recent graduation, he recommended always having a designated driver, a plan with parents about the party and making sure first-aid kits are always on hand.

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