Paramedics in B.C. responded to nearly 100 overdoses a day in 2021

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VANCOUVER — Paramedics and medical dispatchers in B.C. responded to a record-setting 35,525 overdose calls last year.

BC Emergency Health Services says paramedics attended an average of 97 overdose calls a day last year, a 31 per cent increase compared with 2020.

The agency says in a news release that overdose calls have steadily increased since 2015, and every health region in the province reported a rise in the volume of overdose calls last year.

It says the most calls came from the largest cities, with Surrey seeing the most dramatic increase with 3,674 calls, a nearly 50 per cent jump.

It says paramedics responded to nearly 10,000 overdoses in Vancouver, a 23 per cent increase compared with the previous year.

The Coroners Service has said that illicit drug overdoses are the leading cause of unnatural deaths in the province, with about six people dying each day.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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