Overdose Calls More than Double in Greater Trail in 2021

ambulance

Greater Trail Paramedics were over twice as busy with drug overdose calls in 2021.

They mushroomed to 106 from 51 compared to the year before and RCMP detachment commander Mike Wicentowich said police were also on hand.

“The calls often involve violence or very risky situations, so we tend to go along to make sure everyone’s safety remains paramount,” said Wicentowich who added there have been fatalities in the area and not all users are street people.

“We’re still talking about human lives,” said the RCMP Sergeant.

“A lot of people are users that you are not aware about, not everybody is on the street, that’s the most extreme version (of user),” he added.

Wicentowich pointed out the street drug supply remains toxic and potentially fatal because of the ease for makers to add fentanyl.

He said there are about 20 different ways so-called “bad chemists” can produce the opiate which is a synthetic form of heroin.

“When people consume this and it hasn’t been diluted properly, that’s when the overdoses occur, usually they’re fatal because just a tiny amount of this stuff can kill you,” according to Wicentowich.

RCMP continue to stress people should not use alone and have Naloxone or Narcan nasal spray handy for overdose treatment and recovery.

Wicentowich is hopeful the medications will be more readily available in the Trail area very soon.

“I am trying to get a program going at the RCMP detachment where we can have these kits on hand and people can pick them up just in case they come across an accidental overdose or overdose themselves and need to administer the medication,” he said.

Paramedics in the Grand Forks area responded to 44 calls in 2021, almost double the number from the year before when they went out on 23 calls.

Call volumes increased from 17-to-23 in the Castelgar area and from 8-to-11 in the Creston Valley.

The Nelson area experienced a decrease from 53 in 2020 to 47 last year.