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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit seeing rise in fentanyl, carfentanil related deaths

The largest number of deaths involving fentanyl in Ontario happened during the week of March 1 to 7, with 104 in total.
File photo by Dan Toulgoet/Vancouver Courier

Ontario continues to grapple with opioid-related cases and deaths as the latest numbers show the province reporting 300 deaths to date — 58 of which are in the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit area.

And these batches of fentanyl, the health unit said, typically involve carfentanil — a known analogue of of the opioid — as well as other analogues.

According to the health unit, 86 per cent of opioid reports involve fentanyl. Last year, 87 per cent of 16 reports involved fentanyl, and in 2019, there were 27 reports of which 37 per cent involved fentanyl.

“The Health Unit, along with community partners, are aware that some of the substances available in the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark area contain not only carfentanil but many other of the fentanyl analogues as well as benzodiazepines,” a statement from the health unit released Thursday said.

“The Health Unit continues to monitor the ongoing overdose crisis while encouraging the increased distribution of naloxone (the medication used to reverse an opioid overdose) across Leeds, Grenville and Lanark and advocating for the urgent response to this public health crisis.”

Province-wide, the largest number of deaths in 2021 happened in the week of March 1 to 7, with 104 in total.

Carfentanil has been detected in a total of 16 deaths in 2021 (with some toxicology testing results in substance related deaths pending) and the cause of death for nine deaths in 2020, the Office of Chief Coroner reported.

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