The Americas

Canadian city approves tax to deal with opioid crisis

The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, has approved a small tax hike intended to help address the opioid overdose crisis.

The city council passed a budget Tuesday that includes a 0.5 percent increase in the property tax to support front-line service providers including firefighters who have been seeing multiple overdoses a day.

The city says in a release that firefighters responded to 745 calls about drug overdoses in November, and crews had to use the overdose-reversing drug naloxone 35 times.

The British Columbia Coroners Service recorded more than 620 fatal drug overdoses across the province from January through October, about 60 percent of them linked to the deadly opioid fentanyl.

The budget passed will see property taxes in Vancouver go up by a total of 3.9 percent in 2017.