Surge in overdose calls prompt $5 million injection for paramedic response

Record number of drug-related overdose calls to 911 in past week in B.C.

First responders treat an overdose victim in Surrey.

A record number of overdose-related calls has prompted B.C.’s health ministry to provide an extra $5 million to help increase the response by paramedics.

B.C. had the highest-ever number of overdose-related 911 calls in the past week, with 494 suspected overdoses or poisonings in Greater Vancouver from Nov. 17-23. That included 271 in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and 81 in Surrey.

“Our paramedics are feeling tremendous pressure as they respond to this public health emergency on the front lines,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

B.C. Emergency Health Services will set up stationary medical support units in high overdose locations – including the Downtown Eastside and a high-overdose area of Surrey.

The special units will act as a resupply station for paramedics, and provide information and triage to drug users.

Paramedics will also use bikes or ATVs to more quickly reach victims in high-overdose areas that can be hard to navigate by ambulance.

Money will also help fund provide more support to assist paramedics and dispatchers with triaging and more efficient handover of patients at busy hospitals.

The extra money for paramedic support is the latest in a series of steps by the B.C. government to address the overdose death crisis declared by public health officials last spring.

Just Posted

Wenatchee wins Game 5

Vipers force overtime with 0.6 seconds left

District officials deem Vernon schools safe

Policies and procedures in place to protect against violent incidents

Needle clean-up planned

Vernon group heading out into community Saturday to pick up needles

Heavy rains result in early floods

Armstrong assisted living suites evacuated for second straight year following floods

Vernon group protests Kinder Morgan

Arnold’s office empty during protest

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

What’s Up: April

Devil star will appear in April

Photos: Salmon Arm celebrates Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie

Hometown hero welcomed home with parade, recognition ceremony at city hall

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

Most Read