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Overdose statistics - November 2017

12/20/2017
Dr Patricia Daly watches a mock drug test using the new spectrometer.

Photo: Reps, including BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy, and VCH’s Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, from various organizations, gather around the new spectrometer at Powell Street Getaway. 

Fatal overdoses

According to the BC Coroners Service, from January 1 to October 31, 2017 there were 1,210 suspected overdose (OD) deaths due to illicit drug use across BC. 358 of the deaths occurred in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, including 300 in Vancouver, 20 in Richmond and 38 in Coastal Region.

There were 96 suspected drug overdose deaths in October across BC. This is a 26% increase over the number of deaths occurring in October 2016 (76 deaths). For the VCH region, 23 of the deaths occurred in October 2017, a 12% decline over the number of deaths in October 2016 (26 deaths).

Overdoses in VCH urban areas

From January 1 to November 30, 2017 there were 7,323 illicit or unknown drug overdoses at VCH emergency departments (ED). Opioids accounted for 30% of the visits with heroin being the most commonly reported substance. 39% of the overdose visits were due to an unknown substance. 

88% of the overdoses were seen at Vancouver EDs. The majority (74%) of them went to St. Paul's Hospital. 

The majority of overdoses occurred in males (71%) and those aged 19 to 39 years (58%). 

Of overdose patients to VCH urban EDs, 47% live in Vancouver, 4% were from Richmond, 5% were from Coastal Urban, and 2% were from Coastal Rural. The majority of Vancouver residents were from City Centre and the Downtown Eastside. The remaining patients live in other health authority regions or didn't state where they are from. 

493 illicit or unknown drug overdoses were identified in November 2017, that was an 20% decline over the average number of overdoses in the previous 3 months (616 overdoses), and 43% decline over the number of overdoses in November 2016 (869 overdoses).

Insite

From January 1 to November 30, 2017, there were 119,395 visits to the supervised injection room at Insite. Among those, 1.2% visits resulted in an overdose. 10,534 visits used the injection room in November 2017, that was 4.1% decrease over the average number of visits in the previous 3 months (10,980) visits), and 9% decrease over the number of visits in November 2016 (11,544 visits). 94 visits resulted in an overdose in November 2017, a 19% decline over the average overdoses during the previous 3 months (117 overdoses), and 61% decrease over the number of overdoses in November 2016 (239 overdoses).

Supervised Consumption Service - Powell Street Getaway 

From the opening (July 28, 2017) to November 30, 2017, there were 4,798 visits. 0.6% visits resulted in overdoses. 

Overdose Prevention Sites

From December 2016 to November 30, 2017 there were 230,668 visits to all the sites. 1,225 overdoses were reversed. 

In November alone, there were 23,550 visits with 103 overdose reversals, a 4% increase in visits and a 14% decline overdose reversals over the average number in the previous 3 months (22,722 visits and 120 overdoses).

Overdoses in VCH rural areas

In VCH rural hospitals (Bella Coola General Hospital, RW Large Memorial Hospital, Sechelt Hospital, and Powell River General Hospital) OD from January 1, 2017 to November 30, 2017, 75 overdoses were reported, of which 44% were opioid related. The majority of ODs (71%) were reported from Sechelt Hospital.

What's happening

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:

  • Five additional VCH Facility Overdose Response Box (FORB) sites were created, bringing the total number of sites at VCH to 194

  • Held 22 trainings on overdose prevention and administering naloxone, and a further four trainings for advanced overdose management

  • Presented at various conferences and forums including a Community Dialogue on Overdose Prevention and Fentanyl in Vancouver

  • Formed an Indigenous Overdose Emergency Working Group with First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)

  • Overdose Outreach Team (OOT) formalized a partnership with RainCity Housing and Community Builders to secure three shelter beds for Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) clients to stabilize

  • OOT finalized a clinical practice with St. Paul's Emergency Department (ED), resulting in an increase of 34 ED referrals to the team in November. Working on similar project for VGH.

  • Helped host a media event announcing the trial of the spectrometer drug checking machine. 

SOURCE: Overdose statistics - November 2017 ( )
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