As the numbers continue on an upward trend for inauspicious reasons, a Vancouver Island city is seeing a big jump in overdoses year-over-year.
In 2021, BC Emergency Health Services says Courtenay saw a “significant increase” in overdoses – up 127 per cent from the previous year, with a total of 467 overdose calls.
Meanwhile, farther north, Emergency Services in Campbell River responded to 403 overdose calls last year, 154 more than in 2020.
Port Hardy saw 37 overdoses in 2021, while Nanaimo saw 891 – over 200 more than the 664 recorded the year before. Also, in 2021, 484 overdose calls were recorded in Duncan, 70 more than in 2020.
A “record-breaking” year, BC Emergency Health Services says
The Province of B.C. declared the overdose crisis a public health emergency back in 2016, and according to Emergency Services, overdose calls have steadily increased during the pandemic.
“This past year was another record-breaking year for overdoses,” it said Wednesday.
“Every day in B.C., close to 100 people overdose, requiring a 911 medical emergency call and paramedics to respond, and often, to bring them back to life.”
Emergency Services says last year was the “deadliest year” for drug overdoses in the province’s history, with well over 35,000 calls.
Across the Island Health region specifically, overdose numbers climbed by 32 per cent in 2021, as calls for Emergency Services’ crews soared past 5,900.
Province-wide, the B.C. Coroners Service reported 1,782 overdose deaths through the end of October 2021, the most overdose deaths in a calendar year in B.C.