VANCOUVER — Paramedics and medical dispatchers in B.C. responded to a record-setting 35,525 overdose calls last year.
BC Emergency Health Services says paramedics attended an average of 97 overdose calls a day last year, a 31 per cent increase compared with 2020.
The statistics are in and call takers and paramedics responded to 35,525 overdose calls in 2021 – highest number ever recorded in BC. When BCEHS #paramedics respond to an overdose, the patient has a 95% chance of survival. For full BC overdose data: https://t.co/h7U3oBtUok pic.twitter.com/pPo3QVMH3P
— BC Emergency Health Services (@BC_EHS) January 12, 2022
The agency says in a news release that overdose calls have steadily increased since 2015, and every health region in the province reported a rise in the volume of overdose calls last year.
READ MORE: B.C. expands program aimed at preventing overdose deaths in construction industry
It says the most calls came from the largest cities, with Surrey seeing the most dramatic increase with 3,674 calls, a nearly 50 per cent jump.
It says paramedics responded to nearly 10,000 overdoses in Vancouver, a 23 per cent increase compared with the previous year.
In the City of Victoria, there were 1,952 overdose responses last year.
The Coroners Service has said that illicit drug overdoses are the leading cause of unnatural deaths in the province, with about six people dying each day.
Numbers of overdose responses in Greater Victoria:
- Victoria: 1,952
- Saanich: 342
- Langford: 155
- Esquimalt: 75
- Sooke: 62
- View Royal: 48
- Colwood: 46
- Central Saanich: 38
- Sidney: 31
- Oak Bay: 28
- North Saanich: 20
Metchosin and Highlands were not listed in the BC Emergency Health Services list. The full list can be seen here.
The Canadian Press