Another brutal night for overdoses on the downtown eastside with welfare cheques out once again and with them a spike in calls for first responders.
It’s become a depressing pattern – monthly social assistance cheques go out – the following day, a grim tally of the fallen.
Assistant Vancouver Fire Chief Dan Stroup says this time the downtown eastside fire hall saw a record number of calls.
“Crews responded to approximately 47 medical calls with approximately half of those being overdoses.”
That despite Insite being open 24 hours, plus the pop-up injection site, two new overdose prevention sites, and a high-tech mobile medical unit.
Earlier this week the Coroner revealed 128 people had died from overdoses in November – the most ever in a single month.
“Almost 200 people came through our tent yesterday”
Meanwhile, Sarah Blyth, who coordinates the neighbourhood’s pop-up injection site, says they’ve seen no slowdown in users coming to the tent.
“We are in an alley that is one of the two busiest alleys in Vancouver for drug use in Vancouver. So we’re not surprised that the same people are coming.”
But while she says there were no ODs at the site last night others weren’t so lucky.
Vancouver Coastal Health says there were 29 overdoses at Insite yesterday while the new mobile medical unit handled 24.