Fraser Valley/Vancouver (With files from BCHS) – It shouldn’t surprise anyone although over the past year, our attention has been COVID and not so much overdoses.

There is also the stigma against addicts and overdoses which has pushed away the spotlight.

Ironically, the December 2020 numbers will be released in the coming days.

Amid the pandemic, calls for overdoses spiked, and in July BC Emergency Health Services dispatch staff and paramedics handled the highest number of overdose responses ever recorded in a single month. The final tally for 9-1-1 calls from someone suffering a potential overdose was 27,067; up 12 per cent over 2019.

Every health region across the province saw an increase in overdoses, however there was one anomaly. The Vancouver Coastal region saw a slight decrease in calls by four per cent. One area within the Vancouver region saw a 14 per cent decrease in calls – the Downtown Eastside (DTES). For the last few years the DTES community has averaged more than 5,000 overdose calls a year. In 2020 that number dropped to 4,574, from 5,335; that’s 761 fewer overdose calls than in 2019. 

FVN has heard the similar call from the local Salvation Army, Cyrus Centre, those who work with the homeless and the addicted, Abbotsford and Chilliwack Community Services as well as the Alano Clubs of Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

two × three =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.