News / Vancouver

168 overdose calls in Vancouver during the first week of May

City of Vancouver says first responders were called out to 168 overdose calls in the first week of May and police reported seven suspected deaths.

A man prepares to inject heroin at an overdose prevention site in the Downtown Eastside, where trained staff can assist in case of an overdose .

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro File

A man prepares to inject heroin at an overdose prevention site in the Downtown Eastside, where trained staff can assist in case of an overdose .

The City of Vancouver says there have been seven suspected overdose deaths during the first month of May as British Columbia’s fentanyl-fueled overdose crisis continues.

In addition to the seven suspected overdose deaths reported by police, the city says Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services were called out to 168 overdose incidents to start the month.

The majority of the calls were made in the Downtown Eastside, but the city says the number of cases in other parts of the city is significant.

The death to call ratio in South Vancouver, for instance, is four times higher than in the downtown core, according to the city’s statement.

“Vancouver remains at the epicenter of a public health emergency from drug overdose deaths in the fentanyl crisis,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The city has stepped up our on-the-ground response in the fentanyl crisis, but we urgently need action from the provincial and federal governments on health solutions to immediately save lives and get people the treatment they need.”

According to the B.C. Coroners’ Service latest numbers, 931 people died of illicit drug overdoses in 2016.

As of March 31, 347 people had died of overdoses this year.

The 120 suspected overdose deaths in March marks a 51 per cent increase over the same month last year.

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