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Media Release: Increase in drug related overdoses in HPE

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/June 10, 2022

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is reminding individuals who use drugs to take all available precautions to avoid overdose.  HPEPH has received increasing reports of overdose in the region and while local partners are continuing to investigate the situation, including the substance linked to these events, increasing reports of overdose are often the result of new and/or toxic drugs being introduced to the area.

HPEPH is aware of approximately 15 opioid related overdoses in May. During the week of May 30 – June 5 there were three deaths that are suspected to be drug-related. It is important to recognize that many other overdoses are likely occurring in the region but are not captured in available data, as overdoses can only be reported when an individual seeks medical attention.

HPEPH receives information about drug related overdoses from several community partners, as well as local residents. While HPEPH is continuing to learn more about what may be contributing to increased reports of overdose in our region, everyone who uses drugs is urged to take steps to reduce their risk:

  • Avoid mixing drugs,
  • Try a small amount first,
  • Never use alone, and
  • Have at least one naloxone kit on hand.

Using drugs alone significantly increases the risk of an overdose that leads to death. If you must use drugs alone, use an overdose prevention service such as the National Overdose Prevention Services by calling 1-888-688-NORS(6677).  When using this non-judgemental service, an individual will stay on the line with you while you use drugs, and if you lose consciousness, they will call for medical assistance to help you.

You can help! Seek support and harm reduction services for yourself or others.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug use and would like support, visit HPEPH’s Getting Help page. To protect yourself and others, be aware of the signs of an opioid overdose and pick up a free naloxone kit. Naloxone is available at many local locations, including pharmacies. For a list of locations where naloxone is available, visit hpepublichealth.ca/safer-drug-use.

You can help! Call for medical assistance.

An overdose is a medical emergency. Anyone who suspects or witnesses an overdose should call 911. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides some legal protection against simple drug possession charges for anyone who experiences, witnesses or responds to an overdose and calls 911. 

You can help! Report an overdose.

Individuals who witness an overdose in the community can report the event to HPEPH, by completing our online Overdose Reporting tool. This tool is completely anonymous and information is provided to Public Health Nurses to help ensure harm reduction services are available to those who need them most.

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For more information contact:

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
etubbs@hpeph.ca

Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
mhyland@hpeph.ca


About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. HPEPH is situated and provides services on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee people. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

We invite community partners and residents to share this Media Release with their respective networks.

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

All individuals ≥ 5 yrs of age are eligible to receive a fall COVID-19 booster dose 6 mo after previous COVID-19 vaccine. Bivalent booster doses are available to individuals aged 12 and over.

Appointments can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

For the most up to date information on current provincial guidelines and advice in case of exposure, visit Ontario.ca/page/public-health-measures-and-advice.

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.