According to the BC Coroners Service, from January 1 to December 31, 2017 there were 1,422 suspected overdose (OD) deaths due to illicit drug use across BC. 424 of the deaths occurred in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, including 358 in Vancouver, 24 in Richmond and 42 in Coastal Region.
There were 96 suspected drug overdose deaths in December across BC. This is a 26% increase over the number of deaths (76 deaths) occurring in December 2016.
For the VCH region, 23 of the deaths occurred in December 2017, a 12% decline over the number of deaths in December 2016 (26 deaths).
In December 2017 there were 593 overdoses seen at nine VCH Emergency Departments. This is a reduction of 26% compared to December 2016 (803 overdoses).
In December 2017, there were 10,444 visits to the supervised injection room. Among those, 101 overdoses were reversed. The year before, in December 2016, there were 11,194 visits and 283 overdoses reversed.
In December 2017, there were 1,738 visits to the supervised injection room. Among those, 14 overdoses were reversed.
In December 2017, there were 23,446 visits to the supervised injection rooms. Among those, 127 overdoses were reversed.
Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care are extremely concerned about the high number of overdoses and overdose deaths in our region and throughout the province and continue to take steps to respond. VCH & PHC and its partners are taking a number of steps to reduce opioid/fentanyl-related overdoses, including new actions this month:
- Held 5 trainings on overdose prevention and administering naloxone.
- Sent 3 RADAR alerts regarding bad batches of drugs
- Overdose Prevention Society Trailer Overdose Prevention Site has moved indoors to 58 E Hastings St, hours of service remain the same. Inhalation booths remain at 62 East Hastings St.
- VCH and PHSA’s Mobile Response Team met with the Carnegie Security Team to conduct bathroom safety planning.
- Injectable Opioid Agonist Treatment (iOAT) programs continue to expand at Crosstown Clinic with an additional 30 clients added since October.
- Portland Hotel Society and Pier Pharmacy expanded their iOAT services as well with approximately 40 clients being supported in iOAT maintenance in December and a handful of clients supported in housing.
- VCH and First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) launched “Taking Care of Each Other”, four short educational films on harm reduction from Indigenous perspectives for health care workers.