Waterloo region drug alert extended after surge in overdoses, 4 more deaths

The Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy has issued a community drug alert after five drug-related deaths between June 12 and 17. (Alexander Quon/CBC - image credit)

A community drug alert issued for Waterloo region has been extended following reports of suspected drug-related deaths, and dozens of overdoses, over the past several days.

The alert was initially issued on May 28, the result of 35 reported overdoses and drug poisonings, and two suspected drug-related deaths, that occurred between May 23 and May 26.

However, since the alert was issued, a further 50 overdoses/drug poisonings have been reported, along with four more suspected drug-related deaths.

The alert's extension was announced late Monday afternoon by the Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy.

"The unregulated drug supply is unpredictable and unexpected reactions may occur, including a current trend of heavy sedation," the alert states. "Drug overdoses/poisonings may require multiple doses of naloxone."

The alert also states the Kitchener CTS Drug Checking Program has detected fentanyl in the drug supply, with drugs coloured red, reddish orange, reddish pink, green and grey being of concern.

That information, however, is being presented for informational purposes, as "a connection between the substances identified and the reported drug overdoses/poisonings is not known," the alert states.

People are advised not to use drugs alone, try a small amount first and avoid mixing substances, and have naloxone ready.

More information is available on the drug strategy website.