01/17/2018 13:57 EST | Updated 01/18/2018 01:42 EST

Overdose deaths and medical responses in Vancouver reached new peak last year

VANCOUVER — The number of overdose deaths in Vancouver increased by 43 per cent last year compared with 2016.

The city says there were 335 overdose deaths last year, compared with 234 the year before.

There was also a dramatic jump in response to overdose calls by firefighters and ambulance paramedics.

In 2017, the city says there were 6,324 overdose calls compared with just over 4,700 for the year before.

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the magnitude of deaths due to the opioid crisis is putting a strain on emergency responders, front line workers and community volunteers.

He says a more positive trend emerged near the end of the year with a significant drop in the number of deaths.

The latest figures from the British Columbia coroner's service show there were 1,208 illicit drug overdose deaths across the province between January and October last year. It says fentanyl was detected in about 83 per cent of the deaths.