In light of 22 overdoses in Orillia, officials say more and more drugs are being laced or spiked with synthetic additives.
The OPP released a report on Wednesday saying there were 22 overdoses since Aug. 1. For comparison, there were only 10 overdoses in Orillia between January and the end of July.
“It's a huge epidemic. People are lacing all sorts of substances with fentanyl. It’s not that users are being reckless. It’s that the distribution network is absolutely broken,” says Kathy Willis, executive director, Huronia Transition Homes.
Shelter workers want the government to guarantee them tools to fight it, like the overdose reversing drug naloxone.
“It is absolutely the difference between life and death,” she says.
Police say none of the 22 overdoses were fatal.
“Prevention strategy, harm-reduction strategy, enforcement strategy and treatment strategy,” says Jim Harris, director of support services, Canadian Mental Health Association. “There’s a lot of effort to work together to solve this very complex issue.”
Some say the answer is decriminalizing drugs like they do in parts of Europe.
The Ontario government has pledged more than $200 million to fight the opioid crisis