Another day, another grim record in B.C.’s battle against opioid overdoses and addiction.
The City of Vancouver is reporting its highest number of overdose calls in a week for 2017, and pointing to a corresponding spike in overdose deaths.
The city says from February 26 to March 5, Vancouver Fire Rescue responded to 174 OD calls.
That’s close to the record 188 calls they took during a week in December.
It says the bulk of those calls came in the Downtown Eastside – putting additional pressure on the already stressed Firehall #2.
In December, the city of Vancouver approved a 0.5 per cent property tax increase to fight the crisis, with $1.9-million of the money raised going to fund a new three-person fire medic team in the DTES.
In the same period, the Vancouver Police report 14 suspected overdose deaths, six more than in the week prior.
Officials are still waiting on confirmation on the cause of death from toxicology reports.
That same week, advocates with the Overdose Prevention Society reported a spike in usage of the city’s injection sites, as drug users reported a bad batch of so-called “purple heroin” on the streets.
Last year, 922 British Columbians died from illicit drug overdoses – the highest number ever recorded in the province.
Nearly 25 per cent of them were in Vancouver.
Last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Downtown Eastside to get a first hand look at the drug crisis, but resisted calls from advocates to fund prescription heroin or similar therapies, despite calls from health officials at all levels in B.C.