Opioid Overdose Alert Issued for Northumberland County
Opioid Overdose Alert Issued for Northumberland County After Multiple Incidents In Recent Days
PORT HOPE, ON (June 1, 2022) – An opioid overdose alert is being issued for Northumberland County after a noticeable increase in overdoses over the past three days, warns the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit).
The HKPR District Health Unit’s alert is based on increased overdoses being reported by its community partners. Some overdoses involve Fentanyl, and there is concern that these overdoses may be the result of a contaminated or poisoned drug supply, of inconsistent or increased potency, causing more severe overdose reactions. Another contributing factor may be people using drugs alone.
“We are issuing this alert to make community members aware that more drug overdoses are occurring in Northumberland County and to remind everyone to be extra vigilant when using drugs,” says Dorothea Service, Manager of Health Promotion with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Let’s remember these recent overdoses aren’t just statistics and numbers. Real lives are at stake, with each case representing a person and loved one.”
The HKPR District Health Unit reminds anyone who uses drugs (or those who know someone who does) to follow these safety tips:
- Test a small amount of drug before you use.
- Never use alone.
- If you are alone, call the National Overdose Response Service (NORS) virtual safe consumption at 1-888-668-NORS (6677), or use a buddy system and call a friend.
- Ensure that emergency services can be contacted in the event of an overdose.
- Avoid mixing your drugs.
- Keep a naloxone kit on hand. You can get a naloxone kit at most pharmacies and needle exchange sites.
The HKPR District Health Unit’s opioid overdose alert automatically flags the problem for community partners and first responders, which triggers enhanced outreach efforts and distribution of naloxone kits in Northumberland. Naloxone is an emergency medicine that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose until the victim can get to hospital for treatment. Naloxone is recommended to be used in all suspected drug overdoses, due to the possibility of opioid contamination or poisoning.
Naloxone kits are also available for people who use opioids, as well as their family and friends. These can be picked up at Health Unit offices, local pharmacies, and other locations.
Anyone who sees a person overdosing is also urged to intervene. Call 9-1-1 and give the person naloxone. The Good Samaritan Act protects anyone trying to help in an emergency from possible legal repercussions. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act also protects people on the scene of an overdose from being charged for possessing or using drugs.
Signs of an overdose include very large or very small pupils, slow or no breathing, cold and clammy skin, blue or purple fingernails or lips, and snoring or gurgling sounds. Often in drug overdoses, it is also difficult to wake up the person.
For local opioid overdose incidents, visit the Health Unit’s Opioid Overdose Report dashboard. People can also use the online submission form to anonymously report overdoses and drug-related information to assist in a quicker response to these incidents.
For media inquiries, contact:
Dorothea Service, Manager, Health Promotion, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2227.
About the Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit provides important public health programs and services to residents in Northumberland County, Haliburton County, and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Our dedicated team of public health professionals, led by our Medical Officer of Health, promote healthy living, protect against disease, and prevent illness and injury. We work with health care providers and community partners to address emerging health issues, service gaps and social inequities to support residents in being well and reaching their full potential. Our values of trust, engagement, accountability, and leadership guide what we do every day. Learn more at www.hkpr.on.ca.