14 opioid overdoses reported in one week prompting local alert; WECHU

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A high number of opioid overdoses were seen across Windsor-Essex during a one-week stretch, say public health officials.  (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)
A high number of opioid overdoses were seen across Windsor-Essex during a one-week stretch, say public health officials. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has issued an alert Thursday, following a spike in opioid overdoses during a seven-day period.

According to public health, between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16 there were 14 opioid overdoses that were reported by local hospitals.

Windsor Regional Hospital reported 13 of the overdoses, saying that 12 involved fentanyl. Erie Shores Healthcare reported one opioid overdose which also involved the highly lethal drug.

The public alert was issued via the Windsor Essex County Opioid & Substance Strategy (WECOSS) group, comprised of community partners including the health unit, Windsor Regional Hospital, Essex Windsor-EMS, Erie Shores Healthcare, and Windsor Police Services.

13 alerts so far this year

Health professionals say the opioid epidemic worsened during the pandemic, on a local and national level.

In 2020, the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario reported 63 opioid overdose deaths in Windsor-Essex. Data from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit shows there were 346 opioid-related emergency department visits.

Between January and March that year, there were 16 opioid-related deaths.

According to preliminary data from Public Health Ontario, the first three months of 2021 saw nine deaths related to opioid overdoses.

This year, Windsor-Essex issued more overdose and drug-related alerts than ever before — 13 including the alert issued Thursday.

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