A man potentially suffering an overdose lays unconscious outside a Penticton convenience store April 30, 2021 as bystanders call for help. (Jesse Day - Western News)

A man potentially suffering an overdose lays unconscious outside a Penticton convenience store April 30, 2021 as bystanders call for help. (Jesse Day - Western News)

Penticton records most overdoses in the Okanagan on same day B.C. breaks daily overdose record

There have been 279 overdose calls in Penticton so far in 2021

Penticton had the grim distinction of recording the most overdose calls in the Okanagan as B.C. paramedics responded to a record breaking number of overdose calls on Wednesday, May 19.

B.C. Emergency Health Services responded to 146 overdose calls on Wednesday — setting the mark for the highest number of calls the province has seen in a 24 hour period.

Fifteen of those calls came from the Okanagan.

Penticton had seven overdose calls Wednesday, while Vernon paramedics responded to five and Kelowna and West Kelowna paramedics responded to four, according to statistics provided by B.C. Emergency Health Services.

From Jan. 1 to May 19 there have been 279 overdose calls in Penticton, putting the city at an average of about 58 calls per month or just less than two a day.

Wednesday, May 19 was the second time in two months B.C. set a new high for overdose calls on the day income assistance cheques are received, B.C. Emergency Health Services said in a tweet.

The vast majority of overdose deaths happen when people use alone because there is no one to call 9-1-1.

When paramedics respond to a potential overdose, the patient has a 95 per cent chance of survival, according to B.C. Emergency Health Services.

“We stress the importance of not using alone, and to call 9-1-1 if you see someone who may be experiencing an overdose,” said B.C. Emergency Health Services communications officer Shannon Miller in an email.

“If someone does use alone, we encourage them to use the LifeGuard App. It has already saved lives since it was launched a year ago.”

READ MORE: B.C. paramedics respond to record overdose calls in 24-hour period for 2nd month in a row



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

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