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B.C. paramedics respond to record overdose calls in 24-hour period for 2nd month in a row

BC Emergency Health Services says frontline workers responded to 146 overdose patients
FILE – Linda Mantel with Glide Harm Reduction shows a strip that determines whether fentanyl is in a user’s heroin at a safe injection site simulation at Glide Memorial Church’s Freedom Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

B.C. paramedics say they responded to a record-breaking overdose calls in the past 24 hours – marking a second month in a row of concerning spikes in drug poisonings after the day income assistance cheques are released.

BC Emergency Health Services says frontline workers responded to 146 overdose patients, including 44 in Vancouver, 12 in Surrey and a further 12 in Victoria.

Since 2009, 40 per cent more people have died on what many call Welfare Wednesday and the days that follow, according to 2018 research from the B.C. Centre for Substance Use.

From January to March of this year, 498 people have died of drug poisonings amid an increasingly toxic street drug supply. That’s compared to 268 in 2020 – B.C.’s deadliest year in history.

READ MORE: Study looks to effects of changing universal income assistance cheques

ALSO READ: Should B.C. nix ‘Welfare Wednesday’ and stagger income assistance cheques?

More to come.


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About the Author: Ashley Wadhwani-Smith

I began my journalistic journey at Black Press Media as a community reporter in my hometown of Maple Ridge, B.C.
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