In the first three months of this year, 17 people have died from a suspected opioid overdose in the city and county, according to Peterborough Public Health.
That number matches the total number of opioid overdose deaths locally for all of 2018.
Peterborough County council voted unanimously to call on the provincial and federal governments to fund and develop strategies to stop the opioid crisis.
“What is it going to take before they finally take notice? How many have to die?” asked Sherry Senis, deputy mayor of Selwyn Township. “It’s such an important situation and it has to be dealt with by all levels of government.”
Senis put the motion forward to council on Wednesday. Council erupted in applause for her work on this effort.
“We should be proud the county is doing something to take the lead in this tragic situation,” said J, Murray Jones, warden for the county.
Last week, the province announced it had approved 15 safe injection sites. Despite the recent spike in deaths in this area, Peterborough wasn’t on that list.
“It’s actually smaller municipal areas that are bearing the brunt of this per capita,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Peterborough Medical Officer of Health. “It’s your citizens who are dying from these poisonings.”
“This crisis won’t be resolved at a municipal level. We need all levels of government partnering on this issue,” added Evan Brockest, co-ordinator of Peterborough Drug Strategy. “We are working hard on the ground here with a four-pillar effort. We know we need to stream these efforts up.”
The county’s resolution will be sent to all Ontario municipalities, as well as the leaders of all parties represented in the House of Commons and Ontario Legislature.