Northern Health saw a 17% year-over-year spike in drug overdose and poisoning calls in 2022.
According to data released by BC Emergency Health Services, that was the largest call volume spike among all the health authorities in BC.
Interior Health was the next closest at 9%.
Here is a full breakdown of overdose calls by health authorities in 2022:
- Vancouver Coastal Health – 9,071 calls (19% decrease)
- Fraser Health – 9,537 calls (10% decrease)
- Island Health – 6,277 calls (6% increase)
- Interior Health – 5,931 calls (9% increase)
- Northern Health – 2,838 calls (17% increase)
Over half (51.6%) of all overdose calls in the north last year occurred in Prince George (1,466).
In terms of the highest call volumes in the northwest, the breakdown looks like this:
- Terrace – 357 calls
- Prince Rupert – 81 calls
- Smithers – 59 calls
- Kitimat – 35 calls
- Burns Lake/Houston – 28 calls each
Province-wide, paramedics responded to 33,654 overdose events last year – that equates to an average of 92 calls per day.
On January 19th, 2022, BC set a new daily record for receiving 203 overdose/poisoning calls.
Since 2016, BCEHS has seen a 75% total increase in annual overdose/poisoning events