Penticton had the grim distinction of recording the most overdose calls in the Okanagan as B.C. paramedics responded to a record breaking number of overdose calls on Wednesday, May 19.
B.C. Emergency Health Services responded to 146 overdose calls on Wednesday — setting the mark for the highest number of calls the province has seen in a 24 hour period.
Fifteen of those calls came from the Okanagan.
Penticton had seven overdose calls Wednesday, while Vernon paramedics responded to five and Kelowna and West Kelowna paramedics responded to four, according to statistics provided by B.C. Emergency Health Services.
From Jan. 1 to May 19 there have been 279 overdose calls in Penticton, putting the city at an average of about 58 calls per month or just less than two a day.
Wednesday, May 19 was the second time in two months B.C. set a new high for overdose calls on the day income assistance cheques are received, B.C. Emergency Health Services said in a tweet.
Sadly, once again, BC has set a new record for #OD calls in 24hrs. #Paramedics responded to 146 #overdose patients. This is the 2nd month in a row with the highest number of overdoses on cheque day. Vancouver, 44; Surrey, 12; Victoria 12; and across the province. #EndTheStigma pic.twitter.com/wpjcrck80C
— Emerg Health Services (@BC_EHS) May 20, 2021
The vast majority of overdose deaths happen when people use alone because there is no one to call 9-1-1.
When paramedics respond to a potential overdose, the patient has a 95 per cent chance of survival, according to B.C. Emergency Health Services.
“We stress the importance of not using alone, and to call 9-1-1 if you see someone who may be experiencing an overdose,” said B.C. Emergency Health Services communications officer Shannon Miller in an email.
“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.”