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Peterborough Public Health issues alert following spike in drug poisonings

Peterborough Public Health issued a new drug alert on June 1 following a surge in emergency department visits for suspected drug poisonings. The Canadian Press file

Peterborough Public Health issued another drug alert on Tuesday following a spike in suspected drug poisonings within its jurisdiction.

According to the health unit, there has been an increase in paramedic responses for drug-related calls. The health unit serves Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

Read more: Ontario commits $1.35M annually for Peterborough safe consumption and treatment site

“In the past two days, there have been 10 opioid-related paramedic calls for service,” said medical officer of health Dr. Thomas Piggott.

“Reports gathered from partners indicates that this may be due to purple-coloured fentanyl.”

There were similar alerts issued in February.

In 2021 there were 44 suspected opioid overdose deaths in the health unit’s jurisdiction

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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 drugs 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 www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca and search for “opioids” or click here.
  • Call 911 immediately if someone starts to show signs of an overdose and/or cannot be resuscitated after naloxone is administered
  • Use Peterborough Public Health’s Drug Reporting Tool to anonymously report overdose incidents and harms in the community.

“You are at greatest risk when you are using alone,” 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.”

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