Drug use and homelessness is a serious problem in most metropolitan areas in Canada. Every major city deals with issues of drug use, alcohol abuse, homelessness and issues regarding mental health.
But there is one city in Canada that seems to have a bigger problem than the rest.
Vancouver is a beautiful city, but the city has a shocking problem when it comes to drug abuse. Not only does the city have a problem, the province as a whole is currently dealing with a huge issue regarding drug overdoses.
If you're from BC, then it's safe to say, you already know about the problem in Vancouver's Downtown East Side. Hastings Street has become the known home to Vancouver's ever-growing homeless population and the city's subsequent drug abuse issue.
Even though this has always been an issue for Vancouver's Downtown East Side, matters seemed to have gotten even worse this past weekend. Global News reported that B.C. health officials say that on Friday, July 27th, the record for the most overdose calls in a single day had been broken.
Yesterday, July 27, 2018 BCEHS paramedics responded to 130 suspected overdose calls – the highest in 1 day, a number seen only once before in BC in April 2017. Thankfully all lives saved. Tell your families, tell your friends: Don’t Use Alone, and Call 911 if you suspect an OD.— Emerg Health Services (@BC_EHS) July 28, 2018
Emergency Health Services announced that on July 27th, paramedics responded to 130 calls across BC. The only other time that that number of calls had been met was over a year ago on April 26th, 2017.
Fortunately, no one died as a result of those overdoses; however, the rising number of overdoses is shocking.
130 overdoses yesterday across B.C. Highest in a single day since April 2017. All 130 responded to were saved. Please be careful and don’t use alone. Very toxic supply right now. @charliesmithvcr @cbcnewsbc @CTVVancouver @sarahblyth @GlobalBC https://t.co/L9clDgBkTO— Linda Lupini (@LupiniBCEHS) July 28, 2018
Linda Lupini, the executive vice president of BC Emergency Health Services, stated that "Any number over 100 is much too high, but to hit 130 is not something we ever want to see." She continued, stating that the highest numbers of overdose calls came to Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.
Lupini also credits the high number of overdoses to a "high toxicity" in the street drugs that have been reported by staff at BC's supervised injection sites. BC Emergency Health Services is advising for people to be careful and "don't use alone".
This isn't the first time that BC's drug use issues have caught media attention. In 2016, Prison Break star Dominic Purcell was filming in Vancouver and went on an Instagram rant about Vancouver's Downtown East Side and the homeless population. He called out politicians for turning "a blind eye to the mentally ill and homeless."
He stated, "I've been around the world many times and have not seen so many displaced mentally ill people take up entire blocks and turn it into a place of disturbing sadness and horror." He continued, "Be sure to check out Hastings street, not so pretty. It's where you get to see a very, very real part of Vancouver."