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Alert issued following opioid overdoses in City of Kawartha Lakes

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Fatal overdoses increased during pandemic, report finds
WATCH: It doesn’t matter where you live in Ontario, or what your background might be, deaths from overdoses touch every part of our society. – May 19, 2021

Health officials have issued an alert following multiple opioid overdoses in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Ont., on the weekend.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit issued the alert Monday afternoon based on reports from its community partners. The health unit says over the past 48 hours, there have been “nearly five overdoses resulting in hospitalizations.”

The health unit says there is concern that the overdoses may be the result of a contaminated or poisoned drug supply, of inconsistent or increased potency, causing more severe overdose reactions.

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“We are issuing this alert to make community members aware that more drug overdoses are occurring in the City of Kawartha Lakes and remind everyone to be extra vigilant,” said Catherine MacDonald, a registered nurse and the health unit’s substances and harm reduction coordinator.

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The health unit reminds anyone who uses drugs (or those who know someone who does) to follow these safety tips:

  • Test a small amount of drug before you use.
  • Avoid mixing drugs.
  • Never use alone; if you are alone, call the National Overdose Response Service (NORS) virtual safe consumption at 1-888-668-NORS (6677)or call a friend.
  • Ensure that emergency services can be contacted in the event of an overdose.
  • Keep a naloxone kit on hand. You can get a kit at most pharmacies and needle-exchange sites.

Naloxone is recommended to be used in all suspected drug overdoses, due to the possibility of opioid contamination or poisoning. Many local police and emergency responders already carry naloxone. To find locations for free naloxone kits, visit the Ontario government website www.ontario.ca/naloxone

In August the health unit issued an alert following a spike in opioid overdoses in Cobourg and Haliburton.

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