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2020 Overdose Numbers

Overdose calls in B.C.

  • 2020: 27,067 (up 12% over last year)
  • 2019: 24,166
  • 2018: 23,662
  • 2017: 23,441
  • 2016: 19,275
  • 2015: 12,263

Health authorities

Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health have the highest number of overdose calls. Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health serve 50% of BC’s population.

Vancouver Coastal was the only health authority to have a decrease in overdose calls. The Northern Health Authority had significantly higher call volumes, up 56 per cent.

  • Vancouver Coastal:
    • 2016: 6,714
    • 2017: 8,697
    • 2018: 8,686
    • 2019: 9,407
    • 2020: 9,041
  • Fraser Health:
    • 2016: 5,927
    • 2017: 6,554
    • 2018: 6,513
    • 2019: 6,478
    • 2020: 7,272
  • Island Health:
    • 2016: 3,122
    • 2017: 3,821
    • 2018: 4,102
    • 2019: 3,852
    • 2020: 4,466
  • Interior Health:
    • 2016: 2,599
    • 2017: 3,284
    • 2018: 3,129
    • 2019: 3,097
    • 2020: 4,211
  • Northern Health:
    • 2016: 913
    • 2017: 1,085
    • 2018: 1,232
    • 2019: 1,332
    • 2020: 2,077

Overdose calls per day

BCEHS paramedics responded to an average of 74 overdose/poisoning calls per day in B.C. during 2020.

Highest overdose month

In July 2020, paramedics in B.C. responded to the highest number of overdose calls ever recorded since the opioid crisis was officially declared in 2016.

Paramedics were called to 2,706 overdose calls in July; 87 overdose calls a day.

The average monthly call volume had been about 2,000 calls a month.

Top five communities for overdose calls

BCEHS receives the most calls for overdoses from our largest metro centres: Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.

Vancouver averages about 22 overdose calls a day to BCEHS paramedics.

Vancouver

  • 2020: 8,144 (decrease)
  • 2019: 8,589
  • 2018: 7,895

Surrey

  • 2020: 2,467
  • 2019: 2,151
  • 2018: 2,473

Victoria

  • 2020: 1,569
  • 2019: 1,412
  • 2018: 1,531

Kelowna

  • 2020: 1,168
  • 2019: 869
  • 2018: 928

Prince George

  • 2020: 999
  • 2019: 626
  • 2018: 594

Downtown Eastside

Year over year, paramedics are caring for more patients than ever before in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, including more patients suffering from suspected overdoses.

However, in 2020, the number of paramedic responses to overdoses in the DTES declined by 14 per cent, from 5,335 in 2019, to 4,574 in 2020.

For the last two years the DTES community had averaged more than 5,000 overdose calls a year. 
SOURCE: 2020 Overdose Numbers ( )
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