Is enough attention being paid to the overdose crisis during the pandemic?

Poll: Overdose attention

There were more 911 overdose calls last year in B.C. than ever before.

BC Emergency Health Services received close to 100 calls a day requiring paramedics to respond and, often, to bring patients back to life.

BCEHS says that during the pandemic, the number of overdose calls have steadily increased, and 2021 was another record-breaking year.

Last year, paramedics responded to 35,525 overdoses – an increase of 31 per cent over the previous year.

Surrey saw the most dramatic jump in calls, with an almost a 50 per cent increase. Paramedics responded to 3,674 overdose calls in Surrey in 2021.

“Overdoses are a regular part of every paramedic shift in Surrey,” said unit chief Mike Topping.

Every health region saw an increase in OD calls during 2021.

Fraser Health saw a 45 per cent increase, while the Interior Health region saw a 29 per cent jump.

In IH, Kelowna led the way with 1,588 calls, Kamloops had 1,068, Penticton had 748, while Vernon recorded 457 calls.

Northern Health, which saw a dramatic increase in overdose calls in 2020, had the smallest increase in 2021. Northern Health showed a 16 per cent increase, about half the provincial average.

Vancouver Coastal: 11,204 (+24%)
Fraser Health: 10,573 (+45%)
Island Health: 5,917 (+32%)
Interior Health: 5,417 (+29%)
Northern Health: 2,414 (+16%)

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