Paramedics responded to 316 overdose calls in Vernon in 2020, representing a 28 per cent rise over 2019, according to BC Emergency Health Services data. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Paramedics responded to 316 overdose calls in Vernon in 2020, representing a 28 per cent rise over 2019, according to BC Emergency Health Services data. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Overdose calls in Vernon rose nearly 30 per cent in 2020

Meanwhile, Lake Country’s overdose calls roughly doubled last year over 2019.

Overdose calls in Vernon were up 28 per cent in 2020 over the previous year — data that comes at a time when B.C. paramedics are sounding the alarm following another morbid milestone in the province’s overdose crisis.

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) paramedics were called to 146 overdoses Wednesday (May 19), setting a new provincial record for calls in a 24-hour period.

Five of those calls were in Vernon, four were in Kelowna and seven in Penticton.

This is now the second month in a row that B.C. recorded a new 24-hour record for overdose calls on a Wednesday, the day income assistance cheques are received. Since 2009, 40 per cent more people have died on what many call Welfare Wednesday and the days that follow, according to 2018 research from the B.C. Centre for Substance Use.

Paramedics in Vernon were called to 316 overdoses last year, the city’s highest call volume since 2017. The trend in Vernon can be seen around the province, which saw 27,068 overdose calls last year — up 12 per cent.

Calls in Lake Country nearly doubled in 2020 over 2019, from 24 overdose calls to 47.

“Paramedics want people to know the vast majority of overdose deaths happen when people use alone because there is no one to call 911,” said Shannon Miller, BCEHS communications officer.

When paramedics are called to respond to a potential overdose patient, the patient has a 95 per cent chance of survival, according to BCEHS.

“This is why we stress the importance of not using alone, and to call 911 if you see someone who may be experiencing an overdose. If someone does use alone, we encourage them to use the LifeGuard App. It has already saved lives since it was launched a year ago,” Miller said.

– With files from Ashley Wadhwani

READ MORE: B.C. paramedics respond to record overdose calls in 24-hour period for 2nd month in a row

READ MORE: Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

overdose

Just Posted

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News file)
Man found dead at Kelowna orchard

Police say the man was working in the orchard at the time of his death; criminality not suspected

Syilx artist Sheldon Pierre Louis contributed a new painting to UBC Okanagan’s public art collection. (UBC Okanagan)
Syilx artist contributes painting to UBCO public art collection

The new painting is titled cax̌alqs — red dress

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Hot and cold water have different pouring sounds

Your morning start for Wednesday, June 16, 2021

(Contributed)
Collision slows rush hour traffic in Kelowna

Expect delays at K.L.O. Road and Richter Street on your commute Tuesday evening

A conceptual render of the proposed building at 955 Manhattan Drive. (Contributed)
Height not wanted on Kelowna’s Manhattan Drive

City staff said proposed five-storey building poses challenges

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

Kay Bartholomew, daughter of the founding owner of Wayside Press, Harold George Bartholomew (Bart Sr.). Outdoor enthusiast and longest-standing Wayside employee, Kay worked for the company until she was 97 spanning 80 years.
PHOTOS: A century of service from Wayside in Vernon

The press and printing company, founded by Harold George Bartholomew, turns 100 in 2021

Spiritleaf, Penticton’s first cannabis retailer opened in 2019. (Western News File)
Penticton expands cannabis store hours to match liquor stores

Cannabis stores are now allowed to operate until 11 p.m. in Penticton

Spread out on the staircase of the Kelowna courthouse on June 10, 2021, were several signs with messages calling for justice against Curtis Sagmoen and an end to violence. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News file)
Sagmoen cop assault trial set for 2022

Pre-trial conference set to start process Jan. 26, 2022

Most Read