July 2018 saw more opioid overdose calls in Calgary than ever before

Aug 16 2018, 6:00 pm

Calgary may have just broken a record, but it isn’t one to be excited about.

According to a release from the Calgary Fire Department, July 2018 saw the highest number of opioid overdose calls in a single month in the city’s history.

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A total of 144 calls were made throughout the month due to overdoses, which is up by around 20% from July 2017 (121 calls) and over 450% higher than the same month in 2016 (25 calls).

This year has been a busy one for the Calgary Fire Department, as March and January of 2018 were both record-setters as well, with 139 calls and 134 calls, respectively.

“It’s a concerning trend for our community,” said Fire Chief Steve Dongworth in the release.

“We may not be at peak yet, based on what we’re seeing on the front lines. We really do hope to see a plateau and decline in these numbers, knowing that significant efforts are being made to address the crisis.”

According to the release, opioid overdose calls never used to exceed 10 per month — that changed in April 2015. There has been rising steadily ever since.

Now an average of one person per day is administered naloxone, the temporary opioid antidote that firefighters have been carrying since December 2016.

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