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Police criticized for response after five men found overdosing on Vancouver bench

Police arrived at the scene at around 10:30 am, where the men were found either not breathing or struggling to breathe.

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC
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Five men were taken to hospital after overdosing on a public bench, Vancouver police say.

The men were found unconscious on a bench on the 1800 block of Beach Avenue, police said in a press release.

Police arrived at the scene at around 10:30 am, where the men were found either not breathing or struggling to breathe.

Naloxone, a potentially life-saving substance that is sprayed up the nose, was administered to the men while an ambulance arrived to the scene.

The men are suspected to all be in their 20s.

Passerbys likely thought that the men were drinking on the bench and passed out, which is why no one called police for three hours while they sat, Vancouver police said.

Four of the men are in serious condition, reports the Vancouver Sun.

One witness told the Sun that he had seen police walk by the men hours earlier, saying that officers did not check the men's vital signs or even call in dispatch for assistance.

"The VPD officer checked on the men and found that they were overdosing, with shallow or no breathing, so he began first aid," a statement from Sgt. Steve Addison said.

"Other police officers soon arrived and administered naloxone, which began to bring some of the men back to consciousness."

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