Overdose calls in Vancouver last month were the highest since July of last year

Apr 7 2018, 4:34 am

Almost two years after the province declared the increase in overdoses a public health emergency, it appears the numbers aren’t slowing down anytime soon.

Emergency crews responded to 486 overdose calls last month, with a total of 32 suspected overdose deaths being recorded.

This is an increase from the 27 deaths that were reported at this same time last year and the number of calls was the highest since July of 2017.

“We are losing our friends and family to a poisoned drug supply and a legal framework that treats addiction as a criminal issue, not a life-threatening health condition,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “People are dying from poisoned drugs every day in Vancouver and we cannot accept this preventable catastrophe.”

Robertson commended a recent decision by the province to allow nurse practitioners to prescribe medications as part of opioid substitution therapy, calling it a “much-needed step forward.”

The BC Coroners Service reported that 365 people died of an illicit drug overdose in Vancouver in 2017 – equivalent to one death a day.

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