LONDON, ONT. -- At least five opioid overdoses have been reported within Grey and Bruce Counties over the past five days.

Of these cases, there were two fatalities awaiting coroner confirmation and several others of a critical nature.

These incidents occurred in Owen Sound and smaller rural centres.

Naloxone was unable to reverse the overdose in one instance.

Individuals are being warned that those using street drugs are at significant risk of overdose due to supply containing the highly toxic drug Fentanyl and/or Cerfentanil.

The health unit says the public should assume that all street drugs purchased contain Fentanyl or Carfentanil – 100 times stronger than Fentanyl.

"While COVID-19 is a true threat, the Opioid Epidemic has continued to rage on during the pandemic. We must not forget about this Public Health crisis in the face of COVID-19, and we must treat it at the same level and rigor as we have the COVID-19 pandemic response," says Ian Reich, Harm Reduction Manager for the Grey Bruce Health Unit. "We must ensure that we continue to prioritize strategies to action this emergency together, as not one single agency or organization can fix this challenging epidemic alone – it will take a coordinated effort from all stakeholders and a shift in the way we view people that use drugs. Addiction is a Health and Social issue, not a personal choice, and as a result, we must treat it as such."

Suggested Harm Reduction Strategies

  • Avoid using alone
  • Avoid mixing different drugs and alcohol
  • Go slow – use smaller amounts and test doses
  • Know your tolerance
  • Get overdose prevention training
  • Carry a Naloxone kit

The health unit says the Overdose Prevention line is a vital phone service for those using drugs on their own. An operator will stay on the line to make sure that they are safe while using and will call 911 if the caller becomes unresponsive.

Reporting toxic drugs by calling 211 allows an operation to fill out a form and alert the community through public health.

Additional Services

Other than the Public Health, the following services can be helpful:

  • ConnexOntario 1-866-531-2600
  • Withdrawal Management/RAAM Clinic (Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic) 519-376-5666
  • G&B House 519-376-9495
  • Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre 519-371-0007
  • CMHA Grey Bruce Mental Health and Addiction Services 519-371-3642
  • Mental Health Crisis Line Grey Bruce 1-877-470-5200
  • Overdose Prevention Line: 1-888-853-8542

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides protection from simple charges of possession when 911 is contacted for an overdose.