The local health unit says a spike in overdoses has been detected in the area dating back to last Wednesday.
In a release Monday, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit said there are 27 overdoses detected in the most recent spike dating to April 28. It reported the majority of overdoses in the spike had been recognized to have occurred in Brockville.
The health unit said of particular concern with the spike is only 11 out of the 27 people who suffered an overdose reported they sought medical care at the hospital.
Monday’s news is the latest in a series of overdose-related warnings by the heath unit. It alerted the area to another spike in overdose leading up to the beginning of March, while in early April it echoed warnings across Ontario about an escalation in overdoses and the possible presence of carfentanil, a highly potent opioid.
Identified through the overdose early warning system, the most recent spike is an indication the public health crisis in the area is not close to slowing down. The spike comes one week after the health unit, school boards and police held a public forum on the topic of fentanyl use by youth in the area.
While naloxone kits are an advertised method to reverse overdoses of fentanyl and help people before seeking further medical treatment, the health unit is warning the reversing drug may not be as effective with all overdoses now.
This is because substances in the area have become contaminated with other drugs, like benzodiazepines (Xanax). The health unit stresses that all overdoses are medical emergencies that require help from first responders and other medical professionals.
The health unit is reminding people of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act. The act provides some legal protection against drug possession charges for anyone who experiences, witnesses or responds to an overdose and calls 911.
Harm reduction services continue to be provided at health unit clinics across the area during the COVID-19 pandemic.