Troubling spike in opioid-related deaths across Simcoe Muskoka
BARRIE, ONT. -- Simcoe Muskoka's opioid crisis hit grim numbers, with mortality rates reaching thresholds never before seen in the region.
According to the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy, there is a significant increase of 50 per cent in opioid-related deaths.
"It looks like from January until the most recent time we have, to September, 94 individuals have tragically lost their lives related to opioids in our region," said Dr. Lisa Simon, associate medical officer of health.
The region had its biggest spike between April and August, when 58 opioid-related deaths were logged, the highest count since 2017. In Midland, four deaths occurred in 24 hours.
The pandemic has played its part, leaving people with fewer support options, something Sarah Tilley, harm reduction coordinator for The Gilbert Centre in Barrie, said the death toll doesn't reflect.
"It doesn't speak to people who are in their homes, isolating, due to COVID-19, the lack of supports, lack of family," Tilley added.
Simon said there are no quick fixes to the crisis, but that as numbers rise, the region needs to work together to increase support for those at risk.
The alarming numbers aren't limited to just Simcoe Muskoka. The province reports over 1,200 opioid deaths since March - a 72 per cent spike from the months leading up to the pandemic.