** West Virginia honoring first responders with official Christmas tree
** BC health officials, first responders convene meeting to discuss fentanyl epidemic, drug overdose crisis
UNITED STATES NEWS
** As part of the upcoming Christmas season, the state of West Virginia has decided to pay tribute to first responders by decorating a tree with photos of serving medics, police officers, and firefighters. The Washington Times (AP/November 14) said the tree will be joined by another which will have photos of military personnel. According to the news service, families and friends of public safety workers can send pics to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to West Virginia Governor’s Mansion, Attn: Tina Amburgey, 1716 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, WV 25305. The deadline is Nov. 30. The trees will be at the State Capitol Complex in the Governor’s Reception Room.
** A startling increase in the number of drug overdose calls prompted BC health officials and first responders to hold a summit on the matter last Thursday. That is the word from CBC (Isabelle Docto/November 11) which quoted provincial Minister of Health Terry Lake as saying a 30 per cent hike in opioid overdoses in the last year is overwhelming for EMS. The meeting, held with responders from Vancouver’s downtown east side, largely focused on the misuse of fentanyl. According to recent stats, 55 people died between January 1 to September 30th of this year as a result of overdoses, some 61 per cent of which were due to fentanyl. Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott said her government’s main strategy to combat the epidemic involves increasing the number of supervised injection sites.