Is enough attention being paid to the overdose crisis during the pandemic? – Survey

There were more 911 calls last year in British Columbia than ever before.

British Columbia’s emergency health services received nearly 100 calls a day requiring paramedics to respond and, often, to bring patients back to life.

The BCEHS says that during the pandemic, the number of overdose calls has steadily increased and 2021 has been another banner year.

Paramedics responded to 35,525 overdoses last year, a 31% increase from the previous year.

Surrey had the most dramatic increase in the number of appeals, with an increase of almost 50 percent. Paramedics responded to 3,674 overdose calls in Surrey in 2021.

“Overdoses are a regular part of every paramedic shift in Surrey,” said Unit Leader Mike Topping.

Every health region experienced an increase in OD calls in 2021.

Fraser Health saw a 45 percent increase, while the Interior Health region saw a 29 percent jump.

In HI, Kelowna led the way with 1,588 calls, Kamloops had 1,068, Penticton 748, while Vernon recorded 457 calls.

Northern Health, which saw a dramatic increase in overdose calls in 2020, recorded the smallest increase in 2021. Northern Health posted a 16% increase, about half the provincial average.

Vancouver Coast: 11,204 (+ 24%)
Fraser Health: 10,573 (+ 45%)
Island health: 5,917 (+ 32%)
Indoor health: 5,417 (+ 29%)
Northern health: 2,414 (+ 16%)

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