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City of Vancouver reports 23 suspected overdose deaths in August

September 12 2017 Overdose support calls are down slightly from July, but still 46 percent higher than August 2016.

Checking blood pressure

Vancouver Police Department (VPD) reported that Vancouver saw a total of 23 suspected overdose deaths during the month of August, a slight increase from the 18 deaths confirmed in the month of July by the BC Coroners Service.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) also reported a 12 per cent decrease in overdose support calls with a total of 499 in August, down from 568 in July.

Despite this slight decline, overdose support calls for the month are still 46 per cent higher than they were in August of 2016.

Funding for fighting the overdose crisis

The City has been urging the federal and provincial governments to make this public health emergency a top priority.

In response to Monday's provincial budget announcement which allotted significant funding towards fighting the overdose crisis, Mayor Gregor Robertson had the following to say:

"I'm very encouraged to see the BC government making bold decisions in this week's budget to work in partnership with the City, first responders, front-line community service workers and people with lived experience to scale up response to the drug overdose death crisis. The $322 million allocated for immediate relief will save lives and bolster BC's mental health and addictions system to better connect people to the services they need, when they need them. I look forward to working with the BC government in the coming weeks to action this new funding."

Overdose data from August 28 to September 3

From August 28 to September 3, VPD reported a suspected five overdose deaths, down from nine reported the previous week. VFRS reported a slight drop in overdose calls for the same period, with a total of 102 calls, down from 156, a decrease of 35 per cent.

Graph of monthly overdose calls from January to August 2017

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.

Read the BC Coroners Services' report on Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC, January 1, 2007 to June 2017 (490 KB)