The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is seeing a spike in overdoses, in the Brockville and Smiths Falls areas.
It says that in the past eight days, a number of overdoses have been identified through its overdose early warning system, that collects overdose information from local hospitals and an online overdose reporting tool.
The health unit says the region it serves is grappling with a dangerously toxic substance supply, and is reminding local drug users that naloxone may not be as effective in reversing overdoses due to the contamination of substances with other drugs such a benzodiazepines (ex. Xannax).
Anyone who suspects or witnesses an overdose is urged to 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.
The risk of an overdose can be reduced by following safer use practices;
- Calling 911 in the event of an overdose
- Carry a naloxone kit
- Avoid mixing substances
- Use a small test dose first
- Do not use alone (maintain COVID-19 precautions)
Harm reduction supplies (single use equipment, naloxone and drug checking test strips), and further access to services and referrals will continue to be offered throughout Leeds, Grenville and Lanark during the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents can visit the health unit website for more information. https://healthunit.org/health-information/drug-use-harm-reduction/