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Fentanyl possible factor in recent suspected overdose deaths: Saskatoon police

Saskatoon police said they responded to 10 suspected overdose calls between May 25 and May 30, including five deaths. File / Global News

A recent upward trend in drug overdoses in Saskatoon has police and paramedics sounding the alarm.

Police said they responded to 10 suspected overdose calls between May 25 and May 30, including five deaths.

Read more: Moose Jaw police warn public after 3 overdoses, 1 fatal in span of 12 hours

Saskatoon police said fentanyl might have been a factor in some of the overdoses, which they said would have to be confirmed through toxicology testing.

“Police are concerned about this recent upward trend, especially the incidents that result in the death of a member of our community,” Supt. Patrick Nogier said in a release.

“These numbers, though, are not a complete picture.”

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Medavie Health Services West called the numbers they are seeing “alarming.”

“Especially having 21 patients in less than a week that required 29 doses of Narcan administered to regain consciousness,” said Troy Davies, director of public affairs for Medavie.

“To put this into perspective, in May 2019 we had a total of 11 patients for the entire month that received Narcan.”

Read more: More than four overdose-related 911 calls made every day in Regina in 2021 — Regina police

Saskatoon police said officers used Narcan 13 times between January and April.

“In addition to Medavie’s responses to medical/overdose calls, we also recognize that public awareness campaigns have been successful in equipping businesses and households with Naloxone kits; while beneficial, if used and successful, these overdoses may not be tracked,” Nogier said.

Naloxone reverses the effects of an opioid overdose temporarily, restoring breathing in a few minutes. It has no effect if opioids are not present.

Naloxone is available to anyone who is concerned about witnessing or experiencing a drug overdose.

Police are also reminding people about the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act. Under the act, anyone present when some experiences an overdose can call 911 without fear of criminal charges for drug possession.

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The Saskatchewan Coroners Service had registered 36 confirmed drug toxicity deaths and 102 suspected drug toxicity deaths in 2021 as of May 4.

—With a file from Connor O’Donovan

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