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article imageB.C. emergency responders — Record 130 overdose calls in one day

By Karen Graham     Apr 29, 2017 in Health
Vancouver - April 26, turned out to be one of British Columbia's worst ever days for preventable drug overdose calls, with health officials recording 130 calls for assistance province-wide. This is nine more than the previous record set on November 20, 2016.
B.C. Emergency Health Services says April 26, or this month's "welfare Wednesday," had more overdose calls than ever recorded in the province, an indication the opioid crisis has reached a new level, according to Global News.
"Welfare Wednesday" is the day each month that social assistance checks are handed out, ranging from $610 to $1,101. The B.C. CDC has recommended governments vary the issuance of the assistance checks or issue the checks in smaller amounts more frequently.
The recommendation came on the heels of a study published in July 2016 in the International Journal of Drug Policy, it was found that deaths from drug overdoses in B.C. over the past five years were 40 percent higher during the week when social assistance checks were issued than during the rest of the month.
There were 109 suspected overdose calls around B.C. on Thursday, with 71 of those calls coming from the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health districts, within Metro Vancouver, according to CTV News Canada. An additional 38 calls were recorded across Vancouver Island, and the Interior and northern health districts.
Emergency Health Services spokeswoman, Preet Grewal says they have added paramedics on bikes to cover Vancouver this weekend so that emergency care for any overdoses can be quicker. "We normally increase staffing around this time of the month, around social assistance cheque day, just to deal with an increased number of calls. We are doing that, as needed, especially in Surrey and Vancouver and throughout the province."
The sad part of all this is the news that the City of Vancouver reported 169 overdose calls for the week of April 17 to 23, a 29 percent increase over the previous week. There were eight overdose deaths in the city that week, bringing the total for 2017 to 126 deaths.
The BC Coroner's office reports there were 347 drug overdose fatalities province-wide in the first three months of 2017, with the rate of deaths poised to surpass 2016's total of 931 drug overdose deaths.
More about British columbia, overdose deaths, welfare wednesday, Vancouver, preventable