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Holidays didn't slow down the overdose crisis in Vancouver

(File Photo)

Forty-two overdoses treated at St Paul's Hospital between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day

Overdose crisis didn't get worse over holidays

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Overdose numbers didn’t get any better in Vancouver over the holiday season, but on the bright side, they didn’t get much worse either.

According to Vancouver Coastal Health, there were 42 overdoses at St Paul’s Hospital between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. That location deals with roughly 70 per cent of all Vancouver hospitals’ overdose patients.

Meanwhile, the BC Mobile Medical Unit saw 27 overdose patients between Dec. 27 and Jan. 2.

“Basically the last week has been quieter at emergency rooms and at Insite, but you know, busier than it had been for most of the year still,” says Medical Health Officer Mark Lysyshyn.

While overdose numbers may have been high compared to past holiday seasons, Lysyshyn says the same can be said of 2016 in general.

“Most of this (past) year we’ve been seeing presentations at our emergency rooms for illicit drug overdoses that are double what we normally see,” he explains. “During November, they went up to triple.”

The BC government declared a public-health emergency in April as illicit drug overdoses soared. Health regions and governments across the province have launched several initiatives since then, with limited success.

“We just have to stay on top of this and keep adapting to the situation,” Lysyshyn says.