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Innovative Fentanyl Patch Return Program Coming to Northumberland County With Aim of Reducing Accidental Overdoses -

(NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY) – If one life is saved or one accidental overdose is prevented, then efforts to create a new harm-reduction program in Northumberland County are worth every minute of time.

So says Leslie McLaughlin, a Public Health Nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. She is among a group of local health care providers, law enforcement officials, pharmacists, and representatives of other community agencies who are launching the new Patch 4 Patch program in Northumberland County. Patch 4 Patch is a fentanyl patch return program, modeled after other communities like the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County, Peterborough and North Bay.

“The inappropriate use of prescription drugs like fentanyl is becoming a huge public health and safety issue,” says McLaughlin. “In particular, the misuse of fentanyl is on the rise. It’s happening in surrounding communities, and without an initiative here like Patch 4 Patch, it could become a bigger problem in Northumberland County.”

While fentanyl is a legitimate and powerful painkiller prescribed by doctors, it is increasingly being misused. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, there were at least 655 deaths in Canada between 2009 and 2014 where fentanyl was determined to be a cause or a contributing cause. Between 2011 and 2013, a fentanyl-implicated death occurred in Ontario about every three to four days. “Many people have died from accidental drug overdoses due to fentanyl misuse,” says McLaughlin. “The reality is that these deaths are preventable.”

The Patch 4 Patch Program is designed to reduce the harm caused by the misuse of fentanyl patches, adds Shawn Woods, Manager of Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology and Evaluation with the HKPR District Health Unit. The Patch 4 Patch program works as a “one in and one out” model, Woods notes, in which patients are asked to return used fentanyl patches to the pharmacy before they are able to receive more patches.

Patch 4 Patch is geared to reducing the risk of fentanyl patches ending up on the street. In these situations, fentanyl patches are being cut up, then illegally sold or inappropriately used. The fentanyl is being chewed, smoked or injected as a drug by users, resulting in an increased risk of accidental overdoses and deaths. “Patch 4 Patch is a valuable partnership among physicians, pharmacists, patients and police to promote the safe, effective and responsible use of fentanyl patches,” Woods adds.

The Patch 4 Patch Program was officially launched on Tuesday (May 31) in Northumberland County at an information event held for local law enforcement officials, doctors, pharmacists and other local health care providers. More information about the Patch 4 Patch program is available by contacting the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577.

For media inquiries, contact:

Leslie McLaughlin, Public Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 324-3569 or 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2277,

or Shawn Woods, Manager of Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology and Evaluation, HKPR District Health Unit,(905) 885-9100, ext. 1290.

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«January 2019»