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B.C. paramedics responded to a record 131 overdose calls in a single day
An organizer displays a naloxone kit at Centennial Square in Victoria, on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
VANCOUVER -- Paramedics responded to a record number of overdose calls on Friday, B.C. Emergency Health Services says.
There were 131 calls reporting suspected overdoses that day – "the most recorded in a single day," BCEHS wrote on Twitter Monday.
"This is double (the) average daily overdoses."
Those calls were made in an area spanning Chilliwack, in B.C.'s Lower Mainland, to the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.
BCEHS said in the post that a person who has overdosed has a 99 per cent chance of survival when paramedics are called.
The striking statistic follows another sombre milestone met in the province: more people died of illicit drug overdoses in May than in any other month in B.C.'s history.
Data released earlier in June showed 170 people died last month.
It's an average of nearly six people per day.
Among the factors expected to be behind the increase in ODs is the influx of novel coronavirus.
The two public health crises have stretched B.C.'s resources "to the limit," provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said previously.
Additionally, health officials say users are often hesitant to go to the emergency room – either because they're cognizant of the burden COVID-19 has on the health-care system, or because they're worried about catching the virus.
And many are following guidelines suggesting they self-isolate and allow for physical distance, but this means that more people are using alone.
A Vancouver ER doctor also sited border closures as having an impact on supply. Street drugs are often brought in from Mexico or China, but with non-essential travel halted, some local gangs are making their own supply.
This means the dose may be higher or lower than from the typical source.