August 11, 2017 11:04 am
Updated: August 11, 2017 7:57 pm

Fentanyl suspected after 3 fatal overdoses in Durham Region amid recent spike: police

WATCH ABOVE: One man's girlfriend speaks to Global News about his sudden death. She said she found him during the early morning hours in their Ajax apartment. Lama Nicolas reports.

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Police suspect fentanyl overdoses caused the deaths of three men in Durham Region early Friday morning.

Durham Regional Police said two unidentified men, one in his 31 and the other in his 45, were located deceased in a high-rise building on Falby Court in Ajax, Ont. around 6:45 a.m.

The girlfriend of the 45-year-old victim, who Global News agreed to identify by first name alone, said she lived with the man for more than a year and found the two victims deceased.

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READ MORE: Fentanyl contributed to hundreds of deaths in Canada so far this year

“When I didn’t see him at about 3 a.m., I started looking for him and that’s when I found him,” Era said.

“It’s nothing you expect to see happen, quite frankly it still hasn’t sunk in.”

Police said a 23-year-old man was also found dead in Bowmanville, east of Oshawa, shortly thereafter.

READ MORE: Spate of drug overdoses in Toronto wakeup call: experts

Era said her boyfriend, whom she did not want to identify until next of kin had been notified, was a “very brilliant, talented guy.”

“When you think of people doing any drugs, you think it’s a bad person … but it’s not like that,” she said.

“Anything to do with drugs — there’s only two outcomes: death or jail. There’s no other outcome.”

She said her boyfriend died on the birthdays of his two twin adult sons.

“At this point we suspect it is fentanyl-related just because of evidence we’ve found at the scene. We know that it’s drug-related overdose for sure,” Const. George Tudos told Global News.

“I know that with fentanyl, there’s been an increase as far as calls go for our frontline officers — so this is an issue.”

Tudos said officers responded to 12 non-fatal overdoses and four fatal overdoses in two weeks within the region.

“I know that it has been referred to as a crisis and I know that it’s an issue that is rising. The amount of calls that we as frontline officers are receiving has been steadily rising,” he said.

“It comes in spurts. I know in June we had an incident where we had eight within a 24-hour period and then we didn’t have a few. And then today we had three fatal incidents so we are trying to obviously prevent these type of calls and we want to raise awareness.”

Tudos said users are either seeking out fentanyl specifically, or it is being laced in other drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

“Even just a small amount of fentanyl can be fatal,” he said. “We can’t change people’s minds about whether or not they’re going to do drugs or not but at least we’re trying to raise awareness and show them that these can be the fatal consequences of consuming drugs.”

Police in York Region were also called to a residence in Vaughan just northwest of Toronto for yet another suspected overdose case.

READ MORE: Deaths of 2 teen girls in Toronto’s west end being investigated as possible overdoses

York Regional Police said two people were taken to hospital and their condition is unknown.

The news comes as Toronto deals with a spike in opioid-related deaths.

Toronto officials said this week construction is underway to build three safe injection sites to deal with the city’s drug overdose crisis.

VIDEO: 5 Overdoses in two days leads to Public Health warning in southeastern Ontario

As part of Toronto’s Overdose Action Plan, health officials have also vowed to explore emergency bulk purchasing of naloxone for quicker distribution to those in need.

Naloxone is a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose.

With files from David Shum

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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