Paramedics brace for deluge of Super Bowl Sunday overdose calls

Ottawa paramedics had a busy night Friday, with over a dozen overdose calls in less than 10 hours, and Sunday night is expected to be no different.

Bars across the city will be packed, on top of countless house parties, for Super Bowl Sunday - a night that reliably results in a spike in calls related to drug and alcohol abuse.

“It’s the first Sunday in February and we expect it,” said Ottawa Paramedic Supt. Darryl Wilton. “People will indulge and that’s a reality.”

Wilton sent a news release Saturday morning detailing the previous night’s calls - five drug overdoses and nine alcohol intoxication calls between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. A total of 11 people were treated, with seven taken to hospital. The other four were treated at the scene.

Wilton said that number was not unusually high and the news release was sent out after a request by an Ottawa Citizen reporter.

Although paramedics plan accordingly, there’s always a cost when an ambulance has to be sent out because someone had a little bit too much.

“You know there’s huge pressures on the healthcare system,” he said. “(Overdoses) are 100% preventable.”


Devyn Barrie

Devyn Barrie is the editor and owner of He holds a journalism diploma and a certificate in pre-technology from Algonquin College.