Three fatal overdoses in last week in Grey-Bruce linked to toxic street drugs

·2 min read

Grey-Bruce Public Health is again warning the public about a toxic local drug supply after three fatal opioid overdoses in the area last week.

The most recent cases are likely to have involved fentanyl or carfentanil, and a chalk-like product (of varying colours) is suspected to be the cause.

Reports to Public Health are that smoking these products is causing near-instant collapse and in some cases, death.

The Health Unit continues to urge the public to consider all street drugs highly toxic at this time. Since 2021 began, there have been at least eight fatal overdoses (some are awaiting coroner’s confirmation).

Risk of overdose has risen because local street drug supply of substances such as cocaine now can contain extremely toxic drugs.

People must assume that any and all drugs purchased on the street contain Fentanyl or Carfentanil (100 X stronger than fentanyl), Public Health officials warned.

“We have unfortunately heard news of parties where youth are experimenting with this street drug, assuming Naloxone will save them,” said Ian Reich, Harm Reduction Manager.

But the media release says that in recent cases, multiple doses of Naloxone couldn’t reverse the overdose – “and as such, someone lost their family member.”

Public Health is asking those who are using drugs to reduce the risk, by following harm reduction strategies, for example, by never using alone.

“Eight families have lost a loved one this year alone. We ask that anyone working with people that use drugs to please alert them to this,” said Mr. Reich.

He said parents should take the first step and have a conversation about the hidden risk of fatal overdose when using illegal drugs.

“Please talk to your children about this danger – and if you don’t know how to talk to them, call me, I will talk to them,” he said. “They need to be aware, we all need to be aware.”

For additional Addiction Services, call 211 or reach out to:

-ConnexOntario -1-866-531-2600

-Withdrawal Management/ RAAM Clinic (Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic) 519-376-5666

-G&B House 519-376-9495

-Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre 519-371-0007

-CMHA Grey Bruce Mental Health and Addiction Services 519-371-3642

-Mental Health Crisis Line Grey Bruce 1-877-470-5200

-Overdose Prevention Line: 1-888-853-8542

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald