Home > About Vancouver > All News > 29% increase in overdose response calls from last week

29% increase in overdose response calls from last week

April 27 2017 Eight suspected overdose deaths occurred

"The number of preventable deaths in Vancouver and BC continues to skyrocket, yet we see a status quo response from the BC government to a public health emergency that is now more than a year old. "

Checking blood pressure

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services reported 169 overdose response calls for the week of April 17, a 29% increase from the previous week.

The majority of the calls were in the Downtown Eastside, however, as with suspected overdose deaths, the number of cases outside the downtown area remained significant - more than half of all deaths reported by the VPD occurred outside of the DTES.

Estimated 126 overdose deaths in Vancouver in 2017

Vancouver Police Department (VPD) reported that eight overdose deaths occurred in Vancouver during the week of April 17.

To date there have been an estimated 126 overdose deaths in Vancouver in 2017 thus far. Toxicology reports on the most recent deaths are not yet complete and final overdose death numbers need to be confirmed by the BC Coroners Service.

Quote

"The number of preventable deaths in Vancouver and BC continues to skyrocket, yet we see a status quo response from the BC government to a public health emergency that is now more than a year old. It's atrocious that so many people are dying; we need the BC government to take action with urgent health care interventions. With the Federal Government expanding access to safe prescription drugs, there's no reason the Province can't take immediate action to save lives by expanding drug therapy programs to all those in need."

 

Eliminating barriers to addictions treatment

The City was encouraged this week to see the Federal government announce steps to eliminate barriers to addictions treatment by permitting bulk purchasing of foreign-authorized medications, like diacetylmorphine, that are effective at:

  • Treating opioid addiction
  • Preventing deaths.

With federal barriers to treatment easing, the City is urging the Provincial government to take immediate action in making injectable opioid agonist therapy available to everyone who needs it.

Injectable Opioid Assisted Therapy

Injectable Opioid Assisted Therapy has been proven to work for those at most risk of overdose. Presently, the Crosstown clinic only has capacity to offer lifesaving treatment to 140 patients.

However, City staff and local addictions experts estimate that there are at least 450 others that are in urgent need of this treatment option.