BC has recorded another deadly year in the fight against toxic drug overdoses, and in addition, paramedics and medical dispatchers responded to a record-setting number of calls last year.
According to a report by BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), every health authority in the province saw an increase in overdose calls in 2021.
In total, BC paramedics across the province responded to 35,525 overdose calls, an average of 97 overdose calls per day — an increase of 31% from 2020. In the Island Health region, 5,917 overdose calls were made in 2021 — a 32% increase.
Victoria was among the top five communities with the most calls for overdoses with 1,952, an increase of 24% from 2020.
The first ten months of 2021 claimed 1,782 lives in BC, representing the highest number of deaths due to drug toxicity ever recorded in the province in the calendar year.
Since the substance-related harm public health emergency was declared in April 2016, more than 8,300 people have died as a result of drug toxicity.
Here is the breakdown of overdose calls in each health authority:
- Vancouver Coastal: 11,204 (+24%)
- Fraser Health: 10,573 (+45%)
- Island Health: 5,917 (+32%)
- Interior Health: 5, 417 (+29%)
- Northern Health: 2,414 (+16%)
For more information, you can visit the government’s Stop Overdose website.