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Table. 1 Characteristics of people who use drugs who witnessed an overdose in Vancouver, British Columbia, between 2014 and 2018 (n = 540)

From: A drug-related Good Samaritan Law and calling emergency medical services for drug overdoses in a Canadian setting

Characteristic Total (%) (n = 540) Called EMS (%) (n = 284, 53%) Did not call EMS (%) (n = 256, 47%)
Age
 Median (IQR) 40.4 (28–52) 42.6 (31–53) 35.2 (26–52)
 Per year older  
White (vs. non-white) 286 (53.0) 152 (53.5) 134 (52.3)
Male (vs. non-male) 321 (59.4) 167 (58.8) 154 (60.2)
 < Secondary school education 287 (53.2) 167 (58.8) 140 (54.7)
DTES residencya 325 (60.2) 192 (67.6) 133 (52.0)
Place of residencea
 Homeless 130 (24.1) 66 (23.2) 64 (25.0)
 Single room occupancy 252 (46.7) 129 (45.4) 123 (48.1)
 Other (e.g., apartment, house, no fixed address) 158 (29.3) 89 (31.3) 69 (27.0)
Ever incarcerated 464 (85.9) 250 (88.0) 214 (83.6)
Ever had a negative police encounterb 361 (66.9) 250 (88.0) 171 (66.8)
Ever administered naloxonea
 Did not administer 273 (50.6) 129 (45.4) 144 (56.3)
 One or two times 141 (26.1) 83 (29.2) 58 (22.7)
 Three or more 81 (15.0) 50 (17.6) 31 (12.1)
Witnessed a known person overdoseac 310 (57.4) 169 (59.5) 141 (55.1)
Ever experienced an overdosea 387 (71.7) 206 (72.5) 181 (70.7)
Involved in the sex tradead 71 (13.2) 40 (14.1) 31 (12.1)
Involved in drug dealinga 141 (26.1) 77 (27.1) 64 (25.0)
 Injection drug use 243 (45.0) 136 (47.9) 107 (41.8)
 Heroine 207 (38.3) 113 (39.8) 94 (36.7)
 Stimulants, defined as powder or crack cocaine or crystal methamphetaminee 200 (37.0) 110 (38.7) 90 (35.2)
 Cannabis 165 (30.6) 76 (26.8) 89 (34.8)
Post-enactment period 278 (51.8) 146 (51.4) 132 (51.6)
  1. Reference category = Did not call EMS
  2. EMS Emergency medical services, DTES Downtown Eastside, GSA Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, PWUD People who use drugs
  3. aDenotes behaviours and events in the past six months
  4. bPolice encounter refers to being stopped, searched or detained by the police
  5. cA known person includes a sex partner or a friend
  6. dSex trade refers to exchanged sex for gifts, food, shelter, clothes, or money
  7. eInjection or non-injection drug use