The Grey Bruce Health Unit has received a report of a suspected fatal drug overdose in Owen Sound, prompting Public Health to renew its plea for people who use drugs to do so as safely as possible, including not using alone.
The victim in this case was in their mid-30s. The age-specific mortality rate for opioid overdose is the highest in this age group as per local and provincial data.
There has been an ongoing trend this month of multiple overdoses in Grey-Bruce, with Public Health issuing three Opioid Alerts in August, each following a series of overdoses within a short time-frame. This is the first fatal overdose this month.
“We are saddened by the news of this fatal drug overdose in Grey-Bruce and deeply concerned about all aspects and complexities of the opioid crisis,” said GBHU Physician Consultant Dr. Rim Zayed. “We are closely monitoring the circumstances surrounding this overdose and local data and trends as we continue to respond to the opioid and substance poisoning epidemic, which is a high priority issue for Public Health. GBHU is committed to collaborating with a wide range of partners and stakeholders on this issue and consider all relevant information with community members with lived and living experience. This epidemic is a crisis that requires commitment and engagement from everyone and every sector in the community either as community members or experts in the field.”
The Grey Bruce Health Unit wishes to advise the public that all street drugs should be deemed highly toxic and fatal.
People who 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 (100x stronger than fentanyl) and considered extremely toxic.
Public Health is urging people who uses drugs to not use alone and, ideally, with someone who can administer naloxone, if needed.
If an individual must use alone, they are advised to call the Overdose Prevention Line at 1-888-688-6677. An operator will stay on the line with the user while the drug is used. In the event the user becomes unresponsive, the Prevention Line operator will call 911 to make sure help arrives.
People who use drugs are also advised to start slow with small amounts and go slow, avoid mixing different drugs, including alcohol, do test doses to check the strength of the drug and use less if using after a period of not using.
Public Health encourages residents to get overdose prevention training and carry 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.
Naloxone and safe drug-use equipment are available at the Grey Bruce Health Unit Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and through our participating sites. Call the Health Unit for details, or call 211.
For additional Addiction Services:
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 (NORS) 1-888-688-6677
If unsure – call 211