The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is reporting multiple fatal overdoses in the past 10 days across Leeds, Grenville and Lanark. This spike has been identified through the Overdose Early Warning System that collects overdose information from our local hospitals, EMS and through the online overdose reporting tool.
The Health Unit, along with community partners, are cautioning the community that the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark area continues to grapple with a dangerously toxic substance supply. The Health Unit has received more overdose reports in the first 6 months of 2021 than they had received throughout all of 2020.
Naloxone 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)
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, naloxone and drug checking test strips etc.) are provided by the Smart Works program and continue to be available at multiple locations across the LGL during the pandemic. Please visit the Health Unit’s website for more information. www.healthunit.org.