International Overdose Awareness Day | Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

International Overdose Awareness Day

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties / August 31, 2018 – Today Hastings Prince Edward Public Health stands with organizations, advocates and individuals across the world to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day—a day that aims to reduce the stigma associated with drug-related deaths and raise awareness that overdose deaths are preventable.

Overdose deaths due to medical and non-medical use of drugs are now the third leading cause of accidental death in Ontario. A significant proportion of these deaths have been attributed to the misuse of opioids. Fentanyl—tasteless, odourless, and invisible to the naked eye—is driving the crisis. Fentanyl and analogues of fentanyl are becoming more and more prevalent in the illicit drug supply and are increasingly being combined with, or disguised as, other drugs, increasing the risk for overdose significantly.

“Opioid overdose deaths are preventable” says Dr. Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health. “The best way to be prepared to respond to an opioid overdose and prevent opioid overdose deaths is to get a naloxone kit”. Naloxone can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose, buying essential time for emergency services to get to an individual who’s overdosed.

Naloxone kits are available for free at all Hastings Prince Edward Public Health offices and many participating pharmacies, following a brief training on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. Visit Ontario.ca/naloxone to find a Naloxone kit in your area.    

Hastings and Prince Edward counties have not been untouched by the opioid crisis that’s occurring across the country.

Public Health would like to remind the community that drug overdose does not discriminate, and affects people of all ages, ethnicities, social and economic backgrounds.

Community members can show their support for those who have lost their life to overdose by wearing purple on Overdose Awareness Day.

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Media Contact:
Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health
613-966-5500, ext. 200 or poglaza@hpeph.ca