Overdose statistics - May 2016

Overdoses and overdose deaths

July 08, 2016
Overdose statistics - May 2016
  • In May, there were 386 illicit or unknown drug overdoses seen at VCH/PHC emergency departments (EDs). The majority (72%) of these overdoses were seen at St. Paul’s Hospital.
  • Overdoses of unknown substances represent almost half (47%). When the substance was known heroin (20%) was the most commonly reported.
  • The majority of overdoses occurred in males (67%) and those aged 19 to 39 years (58%). Most patients were VCH/PHC residents (59%), with the majority of patients residing in City Centre and Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods.
  • Approximately 10% of overdose patients were admitted to hospital, while 71% of patients were cared for then discharged and 20% left against medical advice. There were no overdose deaths reported from VCH/PHC EDs during this period.
  • Also in May, there were 60 illicit or unknown drug overdoses seen at Insite. More than half (56%) of these overdoses required intervention with naloxone.

What we're doing

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.

We are taking a number of steps to opioid fentanyl-related overdoses, including:

  • having take-home naloxone kits at all 14 urgent care centres and emergency departments across the region for doctors and nurses to give to clients to take home. Currently the kits are available in three of the 14 sites.
  • increasing the number of take-home naloxone kits throughout the community. We’ve added 11 sites this year. There are currently a total of 54 sites people can access them across VCH/PHC. Find locations here
  • working with partners to make take-home naloxone kits available at homeless shelters and supported housing facilities. So far approximately 200 staff at Lookout Emergency Aid Society have been trained to administer naloxone. Learn more
  • working to expand supervised injection services. We are planning to embed supervised injection services in facilities already providing care to injection drug users.
  • We opened the St. Paul’s Rapid Access Clinic in June 2016, which performs an immediate assessment of substance dependant patients in the emergency department and links them to care such as opioid replacement therapy.
  • developing a new mental health and addictions hub at St. Paul’s Hospital, along with the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Police Department. The hub will provide quicker psychiatric and substance use response service in a culturally appropriate, trauma-informed way.
  • planning to develop 131 additional spaces for addictions treatment (ie detox) across VCH/PHC. 

We are also finalizing several other strategies; details will be released in the coming weeks and months.