Almost every health region in the province saw an increase in overdose calls last year. (Blackpress files)

Almost every health region in the province saw an increase in overdose calls last year. (Blackpress files)

Overdose call numbers reach five-year-high in Maple Ridge.

BC Emergency Health Services responded to almost 500 local calls in 2020

The call is becoming depressingly familiar to paramedics across the province.

The opioid crisis has resulted in emergency health workers responding to more overdoses than ever in 2020.

Maple Ridge is no exception.

According to the latest numbers released by BC Emergency Health Services, there were 492 calls to respond to overdoses in the city.

That is a 17.5 per cent uptick from 2019, and a 22.4 percent increase from the year previous.

READ MORE: Drug overdose epidemic made worse by pandemic

In the last five years since the crisis has intensified, the closest year in numbers was 2017, during which paramedics responded to 431 calls.

Numbers in neighbouring Pitt Meadows are considerably less.

Forty overdose calls were responded to in 2020, which is one call more than 2019, but less than the 57 responded to in 2017.

Calls for overdoses spiked during the pandemic, an Emergency Health Services press release noted.

“In July BC Emergency Health Services dispatch staff and paramedics handled the highest number of overdose responses ever recorded in a single month,” it read.

”The final tally for 9-1-1 calls from someone suffering a potential overdose [in 2020] was 27,067; up 12 per cent over 2019.”

The Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Valley regions continue to have the highest number of overdose calls, as they include 50 per cent of the province’s population. Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria remain the top communities for overdose calls.

Several other communities in B.C. experienced a dramatic increase in calls. These communities had lower call volumes than metro areas but felt the impact of dramatic increases in overdoses.

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