Waterloo Region Integrated Drug Strategy (WRIDS) issued an overdose alert to area fentanyl users on Tuesday.
WRIDS says it has received reports of purple fentanyl circulating in the area that could be stronger than expected and may also contain substances that cause unexpected reactions.
It says there have been three suspected overdose-related deaths in the region over the past week.
This adds to a growing overdose-related death toll, which has already surpassed the previous yearly record in just 11 months.
In 2017, the opioid epidemic claimed 86 lives, according to stats on the WRIDS website.
Those numbers are provided by Waterloo Region Police, who told Global News that in 2020, there were 87 suspected overdose-related deaths in the area by the end of November.
This number would not include the three deaths over the past week.
WRIDS says police and paramedics responded to 36 overdose-related calls over the week, including 11 overdoses that occurred in just 36 hours.
The agency is asking people to use at the Consumption & Treatment Services in downtown Kitchener or with someone they know and have naloxone at the ready.