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BC reports a record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2021

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) is reporting another record-breaking year for overdose calls with a 31% increase across the province during 2021.

According to the agency, paramedics responded to 35,525 overdoses – an average of 97 calls per day.

Each health authority saw an increase in overdose calls last year as the following data shows, with the increase over 2020:

  • 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%)

In November, the BC Coroners Service reported 1,534 overdose deaths in the first nine months of 2021.

<who> Photo Credit: 123rf

September 2021 was the twelfth consecutive month in which at least 150 people died due to toxic drugs.

“Our province is in the sixth year of this public health emergency, and the death rate due to toxic drugs has never been higher,” said Lisa Lapointe, BC’s chief coroner.

The five communities which had the highest number of calls include:

  • Vancouver: 9,993 (+23%)

  • Surrey: 3,674 (+49%)

  • Victoria: 1,952 (+24%)

  • Kelowna: 1,588 (+36%)

  • Abbotsford: 1,368 (+46%)

For a full list of community overdose call volumes, see this link.



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