January 17, 2018 4:01 pm
Updated: January 18, 2018 1:30 am

The City of Vancouver says more than 330 people died of an overdose in 2017

The City of Vancouver said overdose deaths are on a downward trend in the city, despite the overall high number of deaths in 2017.

File / Global News

It appeared to be a mixed bag in the overdose crisis when it came to Vancouver’s numbers for 2017.

At a council presentation Wednesday morning, city staff say a record 335 Vancouverites died of an overdose that year.

However since May, the number of deaths have been on a downward trend.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Chief Darrell Reid said it has been responding to about four overdoses per day.

“This has certainly become a city-wide problem,” said Reid.

In a statement, the City of Vancouver says the total estimated deaths overdose deaths in 2017 are 43 per cent higher than 2016’s total. It adds compared to the first half of 2017, monthly overdose deaths are down approximately 40 to 50 per cent.

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READ MORE: City of Vancouver’s 2017 drug overdose numbers already surpass 2016 total; estimate 400 deaths by year end

The City says Province-wide the latest stats show upwards of 1,200 people have died from illicit drug overdoses, with final numbers yet to be confirmed by the BC Coroners Service.

The City’s social policy directors Mary Claire Zak says the rapid growth of unsanctioned to sanctioned supervised sites made a big impact.

“A place for them to be able to safely inject, then they can be revived,” said Zak.

“We really need to as a first step is to really be looking at a clean drug supply for drug users because we’re not getting at those people who are using alone, perhaps because of stigma.”

Zak said advocates set off a chain reaction.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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