Fatal overdose cases spike: Opioid crisis hitting hard in Grey Bruce
Prescription pills containing oxycodone and acetaminophen are shown in Toronto on December 23, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
OWEN SOUND, ONT -- The opioid crisis has taken over many communities, in some areas, it is more visible than others. Unfortunately, fatal overdoses continue to plague Grey Bruce County and they are seeing a spike.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit and Owen Sound Police are issuing this alert to the public after multiple opioid-related deaths in the last five days.
“In response to this significant increase in fatal overdoses, the Grey Bruce Health Unit is going to lead an Emergency Response team using our internal Incident Management System, with participation from our external partners. We will be calling on external partners to take part in emergency meetings to address this local Public Health crisis.” Says Ian Reich, Public Health manager.
“We are mobilizing staff to distribute lifesaving Naloxone medication during the weekend, as well as offering as many resources to help those struggling with any substance us challenges in their life. We also want to ensure that people who are using drugs are aware of the toxicity of the street drug supply.”
The concern is that the street drug supply at the moment is highly toxic and deadly. Those who use these types of drugs are exposing themselves to Fentanyl or Carfentanil (which is 100 times more toxic than fentanyl).
Police and the health unit warn that those who use these drugs off the street should automatically assume they contain these highly toxic substances.
“We have strong reason to believe that there are fatal additions to the street drug supply, more than likely Fentanyl or Carfentanil. We are calling on everyone in the public to be aware, and if you are using street drugs, to follow the directions from Public Health.
Please call 911, we will respond to save you, not arrest you – the Good Samaritan Act will keep you safe from arrest for possession.” Says Craig Matheson Detective Sergeant, Owen Sound Police Service.
Those who wish to arm themselves with a free Naloxone kit can do so by visiting any pharmacy or calling the health unit. This can be lifesaving if encountering someone who had experienced an overdose.
The Health Unit wants to urge those who do use these street drugs to do so as safe as possible by following their Harm Reduction strategies:
- Avoiding using alone.
- When using with someone else, avoid using at the same time.
- Call the OVERDOSE PREVENTION LINE at 1-888-853-8542 if you must use alone.
- Avoiding mixing different drugs.
- Mixing drugs, including alcohol, increases the risk of overdose.
- Going slow - Use smaller amounts and do test doses to check the strength of the drug.
- Knowing your tolerance.
- If using after a period of not using – use a small amount.
- Getting overdose prevention training and carrying a Naloxone kit.
- Overdose is a medical emergency. Call 911 or go to the Emergency Department.
In addition to services available within the community, there are multiple services available within Grey and Bruce. For additional Addiction Services:
- ConnexOntario 1-866-531-2600
- Withdrawal Management/RAAM Clinic (Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic) 519-376-5666
- G&B House 519-376-9495
- Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre 519-371-0007
- CMHA Grey Bruce Mental Health and Addiction Services 519-371-3642
- Mental Health Crisis Line Grey Bruce 1-877-470-5200
- Overdose Prevention Line: 1-888-853-8542
- If unsure – call 211