Over the past five days, there have been at least five reported opioid overdoses within Grey and Bruce Counties. These include two fatalities, pending coroner confirmation, and several others of a critical nature. These incidents have occurred in Owen Sound as well as smaller rural centres. In one instance, the use Naloxone was unable to reverse the overdose.
People that use drugs are at significant risk of overdose due to the local street drug supply containing the highly toxic drug Fentanyl and/or Carfentanil.
People must assume that any and all drugs purchased on the street contain Fentanyl or Carfentanil (100 X stronger than fentanyl).
We urge people that use drugs to do so as safe 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 1-888-853-8542 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. The operator will fill out a form and it will then go to Public Health to alert the community.
Naloxone and safe drug use equipment is available at the Health Unit M-F 830am-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: 1-888-853-8542
· If unsure – call 211
“While COVID-19 is a true threat, the Opioid Epidemic has continued to rage on during the pandemic. We must not forget about this Public Health crisis in the face of COVID-19, and we must treat it at the same level and rigor as we have the COVID-19 pandemic response,” says Ian Reich, Harm Reduction Manager for the Grey Bruce Health Unit. “We must ensure that we continue to prioritize strategies to action this emergency together, as not one single agency or organization can fix this challenging epidemic alone – it will take a coordinated effort from all stakeholders and a shift in the way we view people that use drugs. Addiction is a Health and Social issue, not a personal choice, and as a result, we must treat it as such.”