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Paramedics and police respond to spike in suspected overdoses

Police say they suspect cocaine and crack cocaine mixed with fentanyl are contributing to the overdoses. 
fentanyl (2)
Fentanyl pills. File photo.

In the last several days, Ottawa police and paramedics have responded to an increase in suspected overdose-related calls. 

Police say they suspect cocaine and crack cocaine mixed with fentanyl are contributing to the overdoses. 

Rob Boyd, OASIS program director at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, told The Rob Snow Show on Sept. 28 that there’s been a significant shift in what’s mixed in the unregulated drug supply, including an increase in crystal methamphetamines and benzodiazepines. 

The mixing of drugs in the supply puts users in a more vulnerable state and makes it more challenging to provide services to the people coming into the centre for help, he said. 

“Then you layer on top of that the challenges that are created by the fentanyl supply in the unregulated market, which make the interventions that much more difficult to try to stabilize people.”

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre provides health and social services for drug users. At its supervised consumption site, they medically monitor people on drugs to prevent overdoses. 

Boyd noted that people using benzodiazepines unmonitored are vulnerable assault and robbery because the drug puts people to sleep for long periods. 

"It's a very high risk space that it puts people into," he said. 

Listen to the full interview with Rob Boyd below: 

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