Courtenay, B.C. sees 127% increase in overdoses in 2021
The number of overdoses recorded in B.C. rose by nearly a third last year compared to 2020, and communities on Vancouver Island were not spared the increase.
According to B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), paramedics responded to 35,525 overdoses in 2021, up roughly 31 per cent compared to 2020.
The Island Health region rose about 32 per cent in 2021, with 5,917 overdose calls received, compared to 4,466 reported in 2020, according to the BCEHS.
On Vancouver Island, the City of Courtenay saw one of the largest year-over-year increases in the province.
The BCEHS responded to 467 overdose calls in Courtenay last year, up a staggering 127 per cent compared to the 206 calls reported in 2020.
Campbell River also saw a significant rise in overdose calls to paramedics, with a 62 per cent increase. BCEHS says 403 calls were received in the city in 2021, up from 249 in 2020.
Last year, Victoria saw a 24 per cent increase in calls, with 1,952 potential overdoses reported, up from 1,569 in 2020.
In the Mid-Island, Nanaimo saw a 34 per cent increase, with 891 overdose calls to paramedics, up from 664 in 2020.
One of the few decreases in overdose calls in the province was recorded in Ladysmith, where 33 calls were reported last year, down from 39 in 2020, marking a 15 per cent decrease.
"Almost every community in B.C. had more overdose patients in 2021 than the previous year," said the BCEHS in a release Wednesday.
Every day in 2021, nearly 100 overdoses were reported in British Columbia.