Grey Bruce Public Health is issuing an alert to the community, including people who use substances and community partners, after receiving reports of six suspected opioid-related overdoses, including two fatal overdoses, over a recent six-day period.
An individual in their 40s died Feb. 6, 2024, of a suspected opioid-related overdose. An individual in their 20s also died of a suspected opioid-related overdose. Four non-fatal opioid overdoses were reported between Feb. 1 and 6, 2024.
Five of the overdoses, including the two fatalities, occurred in Owen Sound and one non-fatal overdose took place in neighbouring Georgian Bluffs.
“We are saddened to learn about the loss of two community members to drug poisoning. This alert is intended to advise people to use extreme caution when using both prescription opioids and unregulated street drugs and follow harm reduction strategies – in particular avoiding using drugs alone or calling or texting the National Overdose Response Service if you are using drugs alone,” said Monica Blair, Program Manager of GBPH’s Harm Reduction Program.
NORS, The National Overdose Response Service, can be reached by calling or texting 1-888-688-6677. A NORS operator will stay on the line with the person while the drug is used. In the event the person becomes unresponsive, NORS will call 911 to ensure help arrives.
Other harm reduction recommendations include:
- Take extra caution if mixing drugs. Mixing drugs, including alcohol, increases the risk of harm and overdose.
- Go slow. Always start with a low dose and increase slowly, especially if trying something new or restarting use.
- Use only new supplies and avoid sharing supplies. This reduces the risk of getting or passing on an infectious disease. Supplies are available at GBPH and community partners.
- Get overdose prevention training and carry a Naloxone kit. Naloxone is available for free at most local pharmacies and at GBPH, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4 pm, no appointment or prescription needed.
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 for everyone at the scene when 911 is called for an overdose.
GBPH is asking community partners and the public to report unexpected bad reactions to non-prescribed drugs in Grey-Bruce. Reports can be made over the phone by calling 211 or online using the 211 Report a Bad Drug web form. Reporting drug overdoses/poisonings enables Grey Bruce Public Health to issue timely alerts to its partners and people who use drugs about potential hazards.
For additional supports and services:
- Mental Health Crisis Line Grey Bruce: 1-877-470-5200
- Connex Ontario: Call 1-866-531-2600 or text 247247
- Ontario Addiction Treatment Service (OATC): 519-371-0007
- Withdrawal Management/RAAM Clinic (Rapid Access Addiction Medicine): 519-376-5666
- G&B House: 519-371-3642 ext.1580
- CMHA Grey Bruce Mental Health and Addiction Services: 519-371-3642
- Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinic: 519-376-3999
- National Overdose Response Service (NORS): 1-888-688-6677
- If unsure – call 211