Drug alert issued for Peterborough area following spike in overdoses

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Renovations complete at Peterborough opioid hub, opening January
Peterborough's opioid response hub is another step closer to opening its doors. Thanks to a successful fundraising campaign, renovations to the building have been completed. And come January, people will be able to access the care they need all in one spot – Dec 7, 2021

After a drug alert issued Monday in Lindsay, health officials in Peterborough followed suit on Tuesday regarding a spike in opioid overdoses in the region.

Peterborough Public Health issued an alert Tuesday afternoon, citing “consistently high” calls for suspected drug poisonings. The health unit says from Dec. 14 to 21, paramedics responded to nine opioid-related calls for service and there were a dozen opioid-related emergency department visits to Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

“Over the last two days, paramedic calls for service and emergency department visits for suspected drug poisonings have been consistently high,” said medical officer of health Dr. Thomas Piggott. “This has prompted us to proceed with issuing a public warning in hopes of preventing further harms in the community.”

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In Lindsay, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit reported there were five overdoses over the weekend that required hospitalization and that there were concerns over a possible tainted drug supply circulating in the region.

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“The mixture of opioids and other drugs — accidental or not — can increase the risk of overdose and death,” said Piggott. “If you are using drugs right now, it is critical that you take action to stay safe. Use with a friend and do not use at the same time. You can also ask someone to check in on you or call the National Overdose Response Service at 1-888-688-6677.”

The health unit says since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, there have been three drug poisoning deaths for every death attributed to COVID-19. As of Monday, the health unit reported 28 deaths due to COVID-19 in its jurisdiction — equating to 84 opioid deaths.

“This serves to remind us that our community is confronted by two immediate and very significant threats to public health — the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the increasing harms of substance use and the contaminated drug supply,” Piggott said.

For a list of local community agencies that are providing naloxone, harm reduction supplies and overdose response services over the holidays, visit the health unit’s website.

The health unit also stressed that under Canada’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, anyone who seeks medical help for themselves or for someone else who has overdosed will not be charged for possessing or using drugs for personal use.

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