Grey Bruce Opioid Overdose Alert – May 26, 2021

On Sunday May 23rd, the Grey Bruce Health Unit sent out an Opioid Alert. The alert indicated that six Opioid Overdoses (non-fatal) were identified in the previous three days. Since that alert, at least three more overdoses have occurred throughout Grey Bruce.

This is in addition to an on-going trend of multiple overdoses within Grey and Bruce this year and last. Anecdotally, there have been at least 10 fatal overdoses to date in 2021, pending Coroner confirmation, – two occurring in the past two weeks. Fentanyl or carfentanil are assumed to be involved. Descriptions of the suspected substances are not available, however, previous reports indicated substances of differing colors, grey, blue, yellow, pink, purple.

All street drugs should be deemed highly toxic, and FATAL.

With 23 preliminary fatalities in 2020 and at least 10 anecdotal fatalities in 2021, the Opioid Epidemic is not showing signs of improvement.

In spite of COVID-19, the Grey Bruce Harm Reduction Team has ensured that all essential Harm Reduction Services remain operational, including Needles Syringe Exchange Program, Naloxone Distribution, and supplying 18 contracted sites with Harm Reduction supplies. In addition, focused outreach in high-risk areas throughout Grey and Bruce has been enhanced – offering greater harm reduction outreach services, as well as heightened Naloxone dispensing, and referrals to mental health and addiction services to many people, near where they live. Harm Reduction Outreach Services have also expanded to include housing system partners, as well as to many local food banks.

We urge people that use drugs to do so as safely as possible by following some Harm Reduction strategies:

  • Avoid using alone.
    –   When using with someone else, avoid using at the same time.
    –   Call the OVERDOSE PREVENTION LINE at 1-888-688-6677 (NORS) if you must use          alone
  • Avoid mixing different drugs.
    –   Mixing drugs, including alcohol, increases the risk of overdose.
  • Go slow.
    –   Use smaller amounts and do test doses to check the strength of the drug.
  • Know your tolerance.
    –   If using after a period of not using – use less.
  • Get overdose prevention training and carrying a Naloxone kit.
  • Overdose is a medical emergency. Call 911 or go to the Emergency Department.

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides protection from simple possession charges when 911 is called for an overdose.

The Overdose Prevention Line is a vital phone service for people that are using drugs alone. It is a service that allows users to call so that they can be safe while using alone. An operator will stay on the line with the user while the drug is used. In the event that the user becomes unresponsive, the Prevention Line operator will call 911 to make sure that help arrives.

If you know of a toxic drug, please report it by calling 211, using the report a drug system. The operator will fill out a form and it will then go to Public Health to action and alert the community. You can also fill out the form directly on the Grey Bruce Health Unit Website at the Report a Drug and/or Overdose Page.

Naloxone and safe drug use equipment is available at the Grey Bruce Health Unit Monday to Friday 8:30am-4pm, and through our participating sites. Call the Health Unit for details, or call 211.

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: 1-888-853-854

If unsure – call 211