Yet another grim statistic in B.C.’s war on addiction, a new record number of overdose calls for emergency workers in a single day.
BC Emergency Health Services says it broke a record Wednesday, with 130 calls for overdose responses.
April 26 was also so-called “Welfare Wednesday,” the day social assistance cheques are distributed.
There were 52 calls in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 38 in Fraser Health, and 18 for each the Interior and Island Health regions.
It’s not yet clear if there was a corresponding spike in fatalities.
The previous record was 121 calls on November 20.
BCEHS says it’s increasing staff on welfare check days, as well as deploying a bike squad through the Downtown Eastside.
Last fall, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control released a study highlighting the “cheque effect,” a dangerous correlation between social assistance day and spikes in overdoses.
That had B.C.’s top doctor calling for the province to take a look at spacing out cheque distribution so that it’s not all done on one day of the month.
Earlier Thursday, Vancouver Fire Rescue reported a 29 per cent jump in overdose calls handled by its crews in the previous week.
Last week, the B.C. Coroners Service reported 120 overdose deaths for March, the third deadliest month on record. It also reported Fentanyl has been detected in 60 per cent of drug deaths this year.
Three-hundred and forty-seven people died of drug overdoses in the first three months of 2017, more than a third of the 2016’s total of 927.
With files from Kyle Benning