Vancouver’s overdose deaths continue to rise with the week of June 19 having three of the busiest days on record for Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS).
The Vancouver Police Department reported seven overdose deaths for the week of June 19, which is up from the five reported the week prior. While the VFRS said the same week produced the second highest call volume of the year at 198 calls; which is 77 per cent increase from the previous week.
On June 21, VFRS said they responded to 41 calls for overdoses in a single day.
The City of Vancouver said in a statement the overdose deaths and calls have been steadily increasing throughout the month of June; which only highlights the need for new strategies and more action to be taken by the new provincial government.
“Vancouver’s overdose death rate continues to soar with no end in sight, and the provincial government remains missing in action,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said.
“Four British Columbians a day are dying of drug overdose from fentanyl, and our first responders and front line community workers are at a breaking point shouldering the burden of saving lives on the front lines.”
The City of Vancouver has reported an estimated 191 overdose deaths in 2017 so far and is on pace for roughly 400 deaths by the end of the year in the city alone.
As of the end of May, the latest data from B.C.’s coroner’s service said the total number of overdose deaths in B.C. to 488. In the month of April alone, there were a suspected 136 overdose deaths in the province. That amounts to almost double the number of deaths compared with the same month last year.
Vancouver still has the highest number of fatalities this year.
Overdose deaths have been largely attributed to the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which was connected to nearly 45 per cent of drug deaths between 2015 and 2016.