Since 2011, after a spike of heroin-related deaths was reported in the Vancouver region, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH) started weekly monitoring of overdoses at emergency departments (ED) and Insite, Vancouver’s supervised injection site to support local and provincial harm reduction activities.
On April 14, 2016, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Perry Kendall declared a public health emergency under the Public Health Act due to a significant increase in drug-related overdoses and deaths in British Columbia. In response to the declaration, a series of harm reduction activities were implemented in the VCH region, including the deployment of the Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) and creation of Overdose Prevention Sites (OPSs) in highly affected areas. Enhanced epidemiology and surveillance programs were implemented at VCH to monitor and evaluate the additional harm reduction interventions including the development of additional surveillance programs for both the MMU and OPSs.
This update summarizes overdose visits in 9 EDs within the VCH region, injections resulting in an overdose at Insite, and overdose events at the MMU and the OPSs.
Overdose prevention & response
Learn more about overdose prevention & response.