Surge in overdose calls prompt $5 million injection for paramedic response

Record number of drug-related overdose calls to 911 in past week in B.C.

First responders treat an overdose victim in Surrey.

A record number of overdose-related calls has prompted B.C.’s health ministry to provide an extra $5 million to help increase the response by paramedics.

B.C. had the highest-ever number of overdose-related 911 calls in the past week, with 494 suspected overdoses or poisonings in Greater Vancouver from Nov. 17-23. That included 271 in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and 81 in Surrey.

“Our paramedics are feeling tremendous pressure as they respond to this public health emergency on the front lines,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

B.C. Emergency Health Services will set up stationary medical support units in high overdose locations – including the Downtown Eastside and a high-overdose area of Surrey.

The special units will act as a resupply station for paramedics, and provide information and triage to drug users.

Paramedics will also use bikes or ATVs to more quickly reach victims in high-overdose areas that can be hard to navigate by ambulance.

Money will also help fund provide more support to assist paramedics and dispatchers with triaging and more efficient handover of patients at busy hospitals.

The extra money for paramedic support is the latest in a series of steps by the B.C. government to address the overdose death crisis declared by public health officials last spring.

Just Posted

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

Victoria city council seeks authority to tax empty homes

Council is asking the province for the authority to invoke a vacancy tax

Backyardigans, Max & Ruby stage shows add to Family Day in Sidney

Bodine Hall shows make room for kids to sing, dance, enjoy Family Day weekend

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says municipality will re-group after Rowing Canada decision

Haynes said he is “quite disappointed” but also respects choice of North Cowichan as national centre

CRD committee proposes ending livestock payouts to farmers

The bylaw has existed since the creation of the CRD’s animal control service in 1979

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Most Read