Despite the record high number of fatal overdoses in Penticton this year, BC Emergency Health Services is confident it is saving lives.
So far this year, the provincial health authority has responded to 233 emergency calls for potential overdoses in the Penticton area. This equates to an average of 21 calls per month.
While most people have been revived, a recent report by the BC Coroners Service revealed there have been 17 fatal overdoses so far this year, ranking Penticton the 12th deadliest city for overdoses in the province.
The provincial health authority said it believes many of these fatal overdoses could have been avoided had emergency services been called. According to the organization, a patient has a 99 per cent chance of survival when paramedics respond and are able to administer naloxone or narcan.
Naloxone, a medication that quickly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, is proving to be a well-used tool for many in the Penticton area. So far this year, the province has distributed 1,736 kits locally, nearly double the amount compared to last year.
The medication is available in B.C. without a prescription and is given as an injection into a muscle.