Drug overdoses claim 5 lives in 6 days: London police

London police Chief John Pare (left) and medical officer of health for London and Middlesex County Dr. Chris Mackie (right) address the recent wave of suspected overdose deaths in London. Andrew Graham / 980

The suspected overdose deaths of five Londoners in under a week has sparked an impassioned plea from the local police service.

“Five men have died since March 30,” London police Chief John Pare said in a statement on Friday.

“It is truly alarming so I am pleading with those who use drugs to be careful and with family and friends of those who may use to talk to them about safety planning.”

All five deaths are being probed by the Coroner’s Office and Major Crime Unit detectives. London police say one man died Saturday, two died on Sunday and two died on Thursday. All are suspected drug overdoses, and police believe at least three involved fentanyl.

READ MORE: Naloxone kits coming to 29 public facilities in London

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London police and the local health unit issued a public warning on Tuesday about a spike in overdoses.

A similar warning came from police in Woodstock, Ont., after a rash of overdose-related calls and the overdose death of a 17-year-old boy.

“It pains me having to keep talking about this ongoing tragedy,” said a statement from Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health for London and Middlesex County.

“Please seek help for yourself or your loved ones. There are options for treatment no matter where you are in your journey, from supervised consumption to Suboxone,” he said.

READ MORE: Opioid-related deaths decline since introduction of temporary overdose prevention site: MLHU

In a statement issued Friday, Mayor Ed Holder expressed his sorrow for the deaths and offered condolences to the victims’ loved ones.

“This is a tragic reminder that much work remains to be done in London,” Holder said.

“Dr. Chris Mackie, police Chief John Pare and all first responders continue to have my full support and cooperation.”

Local residents are urged to get a free naloxone kit from the health unit or local pharmacies.

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People who use drugs are being urged not to use alone.

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