10,168 OVERDOSE DEATHS recorded since 2016

For Immediate Release:

August 19, 2022: 10,168 OVERDOSE DEATHS recorded since 2016

Since the opioid drug epidemic was first announced in 2016, more than 10,000 people have died from overdoses in BC. From January 1st to June 30th of 2022, BC has seen 1,095 deaths, on pace to be the highest number since 2016. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022PSSG0056-001250

BC’s paramedics and emergency dispatchers continue to be on the front line of this public health emergency and continue to revive countless overdose patients each month. “Our paramedics see the true impacts these deaths bring” says Troy Clifford, President of The Ambulance Paramedics of BC/CUPE 873 (APBC). “We see what this does to families, friends, and coworkers. Keep in mind that we can reverse many of these overdoses when we are staffed appropriately, but currently, we are seeing our ability to respond to these types of emergencies put in jeopardy as ambulances sit empty across BC.”

In April 2016, the APBC published a white paper – “Opioid Overdose & Naloxone: Collaboration for Policy Innovation.” In that document, APBC recognized that Canada had the highest use of opioids, per capita, in North America, with the USA a close 2nd. In this white paper, the APBC references harm reduction strategies that can continue to help us move forward in the fight against toxic drug overdoses.

APBC paramedics and dispatchers continue to respond to emergencies across BC, including overdoses. They encourage people not to use drugs alone and take precautions such as safe injection sites, using the Lifeguard app, as well as making sure their supply is safe. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/overdose

For more information, please contact:

Troy Clifford, Provincial President, 250.319.4713, Troy.Clifford@apbc.ca

Ian Tait, Communications Director, 604.798.5557, Ian.Tait@apbc.ca

info@apbc.ca | 604.273.5722 | www.apbc.ca