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Alert issued following spike in drug overdoses in Northumberland County

Health officials have seen spike in drug overdoses in Northumberland County. Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press

Health officials have issued an alert in Northumberland County following a recent increase in drug overdoses, including two suspected deaths.

On Thursday, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit issued the alert based on reports from community partners about an increase in drug overdoses.

The health unit says two recent fatal overdoses “may be linked” to a supply of contaminated or poisoned drugs circulating in Northumberland County. The drugs have inconsistent or increased potency, which is causing more severe overdose reactions.

Read more: Suspected opioid deaths in Peterborough area rise to 20 so far in 2021, health unit says

“We are issuing this alert to make community members aware of the presence of contaminated or poisoned drug supply in the region and to be extra vigilant,” stated Catherine MacDonald, substances and harm reduction co-ordinator.

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The health unit reminds drug users (or people who know users of drugs) to test a small amount of a drug before use and never use alone, or if you are alone, use the National Overdose Response Service (NORS) virtual safe consumption at 1-888-668-NORS (6677) or use a buddy system and call a friend.

Health officials also recommended that emergency services be contacted in the event of an overdose, to avoid mixing drugs and to keep a naloxone kit on hand. Kits are available at most pharmacies and needle exchange sites.

MacDonald also encourages people to intervene if they see someone who is overdosing. Call 911 and give the person naloxone. She notes the Good Samaritan Act protects anyone trying to help in an emergency from possible legal repercussions and protects people on the scene of an overdose from being charged for possessing or using drugs.

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