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Public Service Announcement

Increase in drug overdoses seen locally

Feb 12, 2019
SIMCOE - The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has alerted health professionals and emergency responders of a recent spike in the number of drug overdoses seen at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

SIMCOE - The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has alerted health professionals and emergency responders of a recent spike in the number of drug overdoses seen at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

In the first 10 days of February, there were 28 visits to the hospital’s emergency department for suspected drug overdose, roughly twice the recent averages seen in the facility.

The incidents have involved opioids and other drugs not specified.

“Our information suggests that these overdoses may be affecting individuals experiencing homelessness in Barrie more than others, although that’s difficult to confirm,” said Dr. Lisa Simon, associate medical officer of health.

Dr. Simon advised that “people who are using any substances recreationally need to take extra care, and to carry naloxone in the event of overdose.”

In Simcoe and Muskoka as in other regions of Ontario, bootleg fentanyl, a powerful and dangerous opioid, is being mixed into many illegally sold street drugs, including in counterfeit prescription pills. Many people overdosing on fentanyl are unaware that there is fentanyl in their drugs.

Anyone using drugs recreationally should ensure they have someone with them when using, use small quantities to start with, and make a plan and know how to respond to an overdose.

The health unit monitors opioid overdoses through a local surveillance system and issues alerts when abnormal increases occur.

More information on symptoms and responding to an opioid overdose can be found on the health unit’s website at www.smdhu.org/stopoverdoses.

Anyone who encounters a person who appears to be in an overdose should immediately call 911.

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