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

Victoria man finds out his song will be featured on American Idol after a rough morning

Mike Edel’s song ‘The Finish Line’ was featured on the hit show

West Shore RCMP, Search and Rescue, Langford Fire continue search for missing Langford man

31-year-old Joshua Bennett of Langford went missing on March 9

Saanich councillor questions why Victoria Mayor Helps would shut out public from amalgamation deliberations

Coun. Judy Brownoff says Saanich puts “high standard” on public engagement, openness and transparency.

Victoria-Saanich amalgamation discussions won’t be open to the public

The upcoming citizens’ assembly meetings will be held in camera

Red-tailed hawk’s own bill is killing him

‘Most birds with this syndrome will starve to death without treatment’

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

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

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Most Read