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Vancouver on track for 400 overdose deaths this year

June 2 2017 The estimated 170 overdose deaths in 2017 represent 78% of total from 2016

"The near-record number of drug overdose deaths in the fentanyl crisis is a bloodbath in all corners of Vancouver with no end in sight."

Checking blood pressure

There were nine overdose deaths reported by the Vancouver Police Department for the week of May 22, up from four in the previous week and a 59% increase in the number overdose response calls to Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services for the same period.

That brings the total estimated number of deaths to 170 representing 78% of the total from 2016 when 219 were recorded. If the 2017 pace continues, Vancouver is on track for over 400 overdose deaths by the end of the year.

Quote from the Mayor

"The near-record number of drug overdose deaths in the fentanyl crisis is a bloodbath in all corners of Vancouver with no end in sight," says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

"With a new BC government there's now some hope for getting people desperately-needed treatment options swiftly and without stigma. I urge the Province to take immediate action on health care solutions to save lives and to dramatically ramp up overdose prevention and education efforts."

Health Canada approves new supervised injection site in Downtown Eastside

André Picard, who is one of Canada's top health and public policy observers and who was a keynote speaker at the City's public forum on the overdose crisis held last week, recently stated in the Globe and Mail external website 

"Canada's big-city mayors, who see the carnage caused by the opioid crisis on their streets every day, are speaking out. While their political views span a broad spectrum, they have a unified voice, and we owe it to ourselves to listen to them."

It seems to be working, as Health Canada last week approved an application from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) for a new supervised injection site on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside with a second application for a supervised injection service at the Heatley Integrated Health Centre at 330 Heatley Street pending approval.

Health Canada also approved two supervised injection sites in the City of Surrey scheduled to open in June.

City asks Province to invest in addictions treatment and prevention programs

With a new provincial government expected in BC, the City will be closely following development of the proposed new Mental Health and Addiction Strategy, and asks the province to ensure that the strategy come with a dedicated and transparent budget that provides immediate investment in addictions treatment and prevention programs.

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