The city of Vancouver has released a report that outlines current and projected costs of battling the fentanyl crisis.
The report, on the agenda for next week’s Council meeting, pegs the extra costs incurred by the city in 2016 at more than $100,000 – and outlines more than $2.1 million in spending for 2017.
The report says in 2016 the city shelled out $55,000 for a mobile medical unit at 58 West Hastings, the former site of Vancouver’s controversial tent city.
It says Vancouver Coastal Health has committed to reimbursing those costs.
The city also spent $43,000 in December alone providing a new three-person Fire Rescue medical unit based out of Firehall #2 in the Downtown Eastside.
That unit will continue in 2017, with funding covered by 0.5% property tax increase in the 2017 budget.
The funding comes as the city’s firehalls, particularly those near the Downtown Eastside, face growing pressure from overdoses.
The report shows overall firehall OD calls in 2016 were up 131% over 2015. In December of 2016 they were up a whopping 256% over the same 2015 month.
A futher $9,000 was spent on a Naloxone training event and public overdose forum hosted by the mayor.
With a boost in cash coming from the property tax approved last month, the city is now laying out its specific funding priorities as they relate to the overdose crisis.
The aforementioned three-person medical unit running out of the Downtown Eastside Firehall will cost $1.9-million, based on the expectation call volume doesn’t drop significantly.
Additionally, the city plans to create a new Community Policing Centre in Strathcona, at a cost of $208,000, a figure which includes a one-time startup cost of $100,000.
Finally, the city plans to boost Naloxone, mental health, and addictions training for City and Parks staff who might encounter people having overdoses in the course of their duties., $10,000
That program is expected to cost about $10,000.