Spike in drug overdoses in Windsor-Essex has officials on alert

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says there has been a recent increase in overdoses, almost all involving opioids.

The health unit says that between Jan. 18 and 20, there were nine emergency department visits related to the opioid fentanyl. In the same time period there were six opioid overdoses involving fentanyl and one involving methamphetamine.

"The overdoses are higher than expected when compared to historical numbers for the same reporting week," the health unit said in a statement issued Friday.

According to reports from a community partner that haven't been formally confirmed, some recent doses have involved Carfentanil, the health unit said.

Carfentanil is an opioid even stronger than fentanyl that is used to sedate large animals.

According to WECHU, there were 249 opioid-related emergency room visits in 2019, and 47 people died of opioid overdoses.

Last week, Windsor City Council voted in favour of putting naloxone on fire trucks. Some police officers in Windsor also carry the drug, which temporarily reverses opioid overdoses.