Drug alert issued following overdose deaths in Lindsay, Cobourg: HKPR District Health Unit

Peterborough Public Health reports seven suspected drug-related deaths in April 2022 and 14 so far for the year. File / Global News

An opioid overdose alert has been issued following recent deaths in the two largest urban areas of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

On Monday, the health unit reported at least four suspected overdose deaths and “multiple overdoses,” mainly in Lindsay and Cobourg.

The health unit says among the contributing factors for the overdoses were people using drugs alone or a potentially contaminated or poisoned drug supply that is leading to more severe overdose reactions.

The alert for the health unit’s entire jurisdiction comes in the wake of a similar drug poisoning alert issued last week by neighbouring Peterborough Public Health.

“Overdoses know no boundaries, and that’s why we are issuing this alert to make community partners and local residents aware of the risks and help prevent further harm in our communities,” said Catherine MacDonald, registered nurse and the health unit’s substances and harm reduction co-ordinator.

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“Let’s remember these aren’t just statistics. Real lives are at stake, since people who use drugs are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends and loved ones.”

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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. To find out how to access naloxone, visit the health unit’s offices, local pharmacies or visit

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. The act also protects people on the scene of an overdose from being charged for possessing or using drugs.

People can also use the online submission form to anonymously report overdoses and drug-related information to assist in a quicker response to these incidents.


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