ODs now 1/4 of ER visits

Staff at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver say 25 per cent of emergency room visits are related to fentanyl overdoses.

And they report they're having to use larger quantities of the anti-overdose drug naloxone to save drug users, an indication there is more fentanyl in their systems.

"We've had quite a lot lately who have gone up to ICU and have to be intubated – not sure if they're going to recover," ER nurse Tanya Campbell told CTV.

Patient Jonathan McCarthur says he's OD'd 25 times in just the past year.

McCarthur started using heroin for back pain decades ago, but the street drug is much different these day, he says. Laced with fentanyl, it has caused hundreds of deaths across the province.

​"I've lost too many friends, too much of my family,” he said.

"The crisis is getting worse," Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement Thursday.

B.C. is on track to hit more than 1,300 overdose deaths in 2017, said Robertson.

There were 120 OD deaths in March, roughly four every day, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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