Health Unit concerned by recent local area drug poisonings (overdoses)

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The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is reporting multiple drug poisonings (overdoses) over the last 4 days, across Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.  Some of these incidents have been fatal.  This spike has been identified through the Overdose Early Warning System that collects drug poisoning (overdose) information through the online overdose reporting tool.

The Health Unit along with community partners are cautioning the community regarding the dangerously toxic substance supply. In Leeds Grenville and Lanark, the number of opioid related deaths has declined relative to 2021 but remain higher than in 2019 (before the COVID Pandemic).

Naloxone is effective in helping to reduce an overdose from opioids but may not be as effective in reversing overdoses due to the contamination of substances with other drugs such a benzodiazepines (e.g., Xannax). All overdoses are a medical emergency and calling 911 remains the most important step in saving someone’s life. Anyone who suspects or witnesses an overdose should call 9-1-1. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides some legal protection against simple drug possession charges for anyone who experiences, witnesses or responds to an overdose and calls 9-1-1.

The risk of an overdose can be reduced by following safer use practices;

  • Call 911 in the event of an overdose
  • Carry a naloxone kit
  • Avoid mixing substances
  • Use a small test dose first
  • Do not use alone (maintain COVID – 19 precautions)
  • If you have no other choice than to use alone, call the Overdose Prevention Hotline 1-888-688-6677 (National Overdose Response Service)

 The Health Unit, along with the Opioid Team (provided through Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health) continue to provide in-person services to people who use substances at Change Health Care in Brockville, Smiths Falls and Carleton Place.  Harm reduction services (single use equipment, free naloxone kits and drug checking test strips etc.) are provided by the Smart Works program and are available at multiple locations across the LGL. Naloxone kits are also available at participating pharmacies. For more information, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/drug-use-harm-reduction/

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