Fire, ambulance and police were called to a report of a suspected drug overdose in a Langley City park on Tuesday. The photo has been altered to blur out the face of the suspected victim. Troy Landreville Langley times

Drug overdoses almost a daily occurrence in Langley City

New figures released by Langley City Fire Rescue Service

New statistics from the Langley City Fire Rescue Service show drug overdoses have become a near-daily occurrence in the community, with fire chief Rory Thompson projecting 350 incidents by the end of 2017.

Thompson reported the latest numbers to Langley City Council on Monday.

“This is not just a Langley problem,” Thompson told council.

“This is a problem across Greater Vancouver, it’s a problem across British Columbia (and) Canada, in fact North America.”

The fire department figures show there were 80 overdose calls in the City in 2015, 228 overdose calls in 2016, 270 so far this year, and at the current pace, there will be about 350 by the end of 2017.

“It’s a problem that we don’t see any abatement in, in the near future,” Thompson said.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Drug overdose suspected in young woman’s death at Langley City home

All City firefighters, including paid on-call firefighters, have been trained in the administration of the anti-overdose naloxone drug (Langley RCMP have also been trained).

Previously, the Langley City fire chief reported different combinations of drugs are being seen on the street, including fentanyl, a synthetic drug that is extremely potent and considered the main cause of the spike in overdose cases.

The Langley RCMP have reported Carfentanil, a synthetic, large animal sedative that is far more powerful than fentanyl, has been seen in the Langleys by drug enforcement investigators who have seized it from local drug dealers.

Carfentanil, which can be fatal in very small amounts when it is used as an additive to street drugs, is believed to have first arrived in Metro Vancouver in November 2016.

In January, tests confirmed its presence in drug treatment centres in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Maple Ridge and Richmond.

READ MORE: VIDEO: New overdose campaign hopes to ‘start the conversation’

Deaths from drug overdoses have been averaging more than 100 a month in B.C. since 2016.

Figures from the BC Coroners Service show the proportion of illicit drug deaths where fentanyl was detected continues to climb. Last year, roughly 60 per cent of these deaths included fentanyl, but that number has risen to 72 per cent by early this year.

Figures from the Langley Township fire department suggest, based on the number of calls to assist BC ambulance with suspected overdoses, there has been a 48 per cent increase in such calls from 2016 to 2017.

There were 113 such calls in 2016, and there have been 123 so far this year.

Last year, there were no incidents where Township firefighters had to use naloxone. This year so far, there have been 21.

Workload gets bigger

The Langley City fire department report also noted that the overall number of calls has risen steadily over the years, from between 500 and 600 calls per quarter in 2011, to between 700 and 800 per quarter this year.

“It’s getting up there,” Thompson said, adding there did not appear “at first blush” to be any single cause to explain the increase, but the service was planning to take a closer look at the statistics.

“We’re going to do a bit more research,” Thompson said.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

Stock trading allegations dismissed against former Langley spiritual leader

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

Langley photographer captures otters amid the ice

While photographing winter on the river, a local photographer was there when otters caught a fish.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Renovations will bring changes to George Preston Rec Centre

New facilities and upgraded plumbing are among the projects underway.

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read