For the first time in recent memory for Vancouver, more people died of a suspected drug overdose in a region outside the Downtown Eastside over a recent eight-day period.
And while the DTES accounted for 64 per cent of the total overdose calls from Feb. 26 to Mar. 5, the area saw only three deaths.
By comparison, City Centre and South Vancouver each saw four drug overdose deaths.
Jonathan Gormick with Vancouver Fire and Rescue credits naloxone for the turnaround.
“It’s literally everywhere in the Downtown Eastside, whereas it may not be as common in outlying areas. People may not be using in groups like they do in the Downtown Eastside, people may not have access to it.”
And it’s not just the mere presence of naloxone in the area that makesa difference, Gormick says its that the kits are widely and readily available.
“A lot of the people in the Downtown Eastside have it. They know where it is in the SROs, they have the safe consumption sites. A lot of the community workers have it on their person, whereas that’s not the case in other areas of the city or the province.”
Gormick says it’s a reminder the overdose crisis isn’t just a Downtown Eastside issue, and that all recreational drug users should have a naloxone kit, which is free.