Hope ambulance crews see uptick in overdose calls over summer months

Aug. 31 Overdose Awareness Day ‘harder than most’ say organizers

Since the start of this year, ambulance personnel have responded to 25 overdose calls in Hope alone.

It’s an average of three to four calls per month said Shannon Miller, communications officer with the BC Emergency Health Service. And in June and July, those numbers were up to five calls per month in Hope.

The amount of calls reached a grim record across the province in July, as paramedics responded to over 2,700 calls amid the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic. That’s 87 calls per day, marking July as the month with the highest number of overdose calls ever recorded since the declaration of a provincial public health emergency in 2016.

Paramedics in Hope have responded to over 30 such calls per year since the declaration. In 2016 there were 33 overdose response calls, with 46 calls in 2017, 33 calls in 2018 and 40 calls in 2019. With four months left this year, paramedics have responded to 25 calls thus far.

Remembering those who have died

On Monday, July 31, organizers shone an extra strong light on overdoses and the stigma surrounding those who die as a result of the overdoses. “This year has been harder than most,” tweeted global event organizers on International Overdose Awareness day.

“We have lost so many loved ones. But today we remember those we’ve lost, love the people left behind, and pledge to do all we can to end overdose.”

Marking Aug. 31 is about both preventing deaths by drug overdose, remembering those who have died as well as acknowledging the grief loved ones who have lost someone or had a loved one experience permanent injury as a result.

“International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that overdose death is preventable. Thousands of people die each year from drug overdose. They come from all walks of life,” organizers stated. Events were held in Chilliwack and Mission to mark the day.

Hope continues to be the community with the highest number of deaths per 100,000 people from illicit substances in B.C. This rate has risen steadily from 12.3 per 100,000 in 2014 to 2016, to 59.5 in the past two years.

On Aug. 4, the provincial government announced $10.5-million in new funding for 17 new supervised consumption sites and other overdose prevention responses. This funding is being dedicated amidst the high numbers of overdoses and deaths from overdoses, as those who use substances deal with an increasingly toxic drug supply.

For anyone looking for harm reduction supplies including injection and smoking kits, naloxone kits and sharps containers, they can be picked up at the 444 Park St. public health unit. Supplies can also be accessed at the neighbouring Hope and Area Transition Society office, at 400 Park St. Pacific Community Resources also does a weekly delivery of harm reduction supplies to communities between Chilliwack and Boston Bar. The organization can be reached at 604-795-5994 or 604-798-1416.

Read more: Steady increase in demand for harm reduction supplies in Hope

– With files from Jennifer Feinberg

B.C. overdosesFraser Valleyoverdose crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rainfall warning says significant showers forecast for entire region

Rain moving across Howe Sound, The Fraser Valley and northern parts of Metro Vancouver this morning.

Boulders near Harrison vandalized with derogatory word

Vandalism likely occured between Sunday evening and Tuesday evening

First rainstorm of the season pelting the Lower Mainland

Batten down the hatches as heavy rains, wind, and some localized flooding possible

Irish folk supergroup Kíla set to perform on Saturday

Online concert will be available through Harrison Festival Society

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Return-It depots change beverage container deposits from 20 to 10 cents

Change will be implemented on Oct. 1, with a transition period being held until Oct. 11

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Young man assaulted, left for 12 hours until help called in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Vancouver police are looking to identify the victim as they investigate an assault on Monday evening

Most Read