New funding announced for B.C. paramedics in fight against overdose crisis | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New funding announced for B.C. paramedics in fight against overdose crisis

Health minister Terry Lake announced $5 million in funding for paramedics to help fight overdoses due to opioids like fentanyl today, Nov. 25.
November 25, 2016 - 4:43 PM

KAMLOOPS - The provincial government has announced new funding for the B.C. Amublance Service in light of the fentanyl crisis.

Health minister Terry Lake, who made the announcement in Kamloops today, Nov. 25, says there is $5 million for additional paramedic services across the province.

Money has already been earmarked for projects in Vancouver and Surrey, while in other parts of the province — including Kelowna and Kamloops — the government will monitor the situation and use the funds when needed.

“Through our declaration of a public health emergency we get far better information, we get real time information,” Lake says. “If we knew from our paramedics, from the ER at Royal Inland Hospital, that there was some bad (drugs) on the street, and we had a rash of overdoses, we could mobilize.”

Currently response times in Kamloops for ambulance service haven’t been affected by the growing crisis, Lake says, despite a considerable growth in overdose calls. In the last week there were 11 calls in the Kamloops area, bringing the total up to around 470 in 2016 so far. In 2015 there were 310 over the entire year.

"In cities like Kelowna and Kamloops, we're looking at call volumes closely," he says. "Our call volumes haven't been negatively impacted despite the number of overdoses that they've been seeing, but if those call volumes go up and they start to affect response times we will add resources here."

Find past stories on the overdose crisis here.

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