VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s been more than two years since the former provincial government ruled the opioid overdose crisis a public health emergency and since then it appears the numbers haven’t really wavered.
The City of Vancouver says the number of emergency calls for drug overdoses and suspected overdose deaths spiked in the final week of April.
Vancouver Fire responded to 207 overdose calls from April 23 to 29, which the city claims, is a 74 per cent increase from the previous week.
Vancouver Police, meantime, also reported seven suspected overdose deaths in the same period, up from the four deaths the week prior.
“Lives are on the line and we will keep pushing for policy changes that will make sure people have access to safe prescription drugs rather than being forced to turn to deadly street drugs,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
He adds the increase is the result of a toxic supply of drugs on the streets right now, and first responders are encouraging people to take extra precautions like using supervised consumption sites.
The city says its supporting initiatives aimed at curbing the use of tainted drugs like the BC Centre for Disease Control’s pilot program to expand access to hydromorphone.
The VPD says 108 people have died from suspected overdoses this year, adding to the 365 people the BC Coroners Service confirmed died from overdoses in 2017.