Opioid Overdoses – TOXIC SUPPLY

The Grey Bruce Health Unit and Owen Sound Police would like to alert the public that fatal overdoses continue to affect our community. There have been multiple fatal overdoses in the past 5 days. It is not only affecting the larger towns and cities, but virtually every small community, hamlet and village within our region.

There is concern that there is a highly toxic and deadly drug supply at present. People that use drugs are at significant risk of overdose due to the local street drug supply potentially containing the highly toxic drug Fentanyl and Carfentanil. People must assume that any and all drugs purchased on the street contain Fentanyl or Carfentanil (100 X more toxic than fentanyl). We are aware that many neighboring jurisdictions have reported Fentanyl in the cocaine supply as well, leading to fatal overdoses. We urge people that use drugs to do so as safe as possible by following some 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 less.
·       Getting 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 action and 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.

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
•         https://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/Your-Health/Harm-Reduction
•         If unsure – call 211

“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.

“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.”