Overdoses

Paramedics responded to 12 calls concerning potential overdoses on Wednesday in Kelowna. Such calls-outs are running far ahead of last year's pace.

Drug overdose calls in Kelowna are running far ahead of last year's pace, paramedics say.

Wednesday was a particularly troubling day, with paramedics responding to 12 such calls - four times the daily average.

"The community of Kelowna generally averages about 75 overdose calls a month. This month, there have been 133 9-1-1 calls for potential overdoses," BC Emergency Health Services communications officer Shannon Miller said.

From January until July 29, there were 656 calls about potential overdoses in Kelowna. That compares to 869 in all of 2019, and 928 in all of 2018.

"Kelowna's high numbers echo the rest of the province which has recorded a record number of overdose calls this month," Miller says. "Paramedics have responded to more than 2,500 overdose calls this month in B.C."

"Paramedics want to stress the importance of not using alone, and to call 911 if you see someone who may be experiencing an overdose," Miller says.

The majority of drug overdose deaths occur when people have used alone, because there is no one to call 9-1-1. When paramedics respond to a potential overdose call, the patient has a more than 95 per cent chance of survival, Miller said.

From January through June, there were 254 drug overdose deaths in the Interior Health region.