130 overdoses in one day has B.C. premier, addiction expert sounding alarm
published on July 31, 2018 by The Canadian Press in Vancouver Sun
VICTORIA — One of British Columbia’s top addiction experts joined Premier John Horgan Monday in calling for increased efforts to fight the ravages of illegal drug use after a report of 130 overdoses in one day last week.
Horgan said he’s thankful there were no deaths from any of the overdoses reported on Friday, but the staggering number reveals the amount of work ahead to battle the crisis.
Dr. Evan Wood, director at the BC Centre on Substance Use, said the unofficial number of overdose cases was likely much higher last Friday as injection site volunteers, public and private citizens and other drug users helped others in distress.
“If there were 130 ambulance calls, you could image there were many other overdoses where there were other drug users offering naloxone or service workers providing naloxone,” he said.
Naloxone, widely available in British Columbia, is a life-saving medication that can stop or reverse an opioid overdose.
BC Emergency Health Services said paramedics responded to 130 suspected overdose calls on July 27, a statistic only seen once before in April of last year.
The service said in a statement on Twitter that news about the high number of overdoses should be made widely known and it urged drug users not to use substances alone.
“To think that happened 130 times last week on one day is staggering for the public and speaks to the amount of work we have to do to get this scourge out of our cities and out of our province,” Horgan said. “With respect to the timing of this latest rash of overdoses, it strikes me these numbers are unprecedented, and our job is to make sure we’re doing more in the days ahead.”View the full article