June 18, 2020 – Grey Bruce has experienced multiple fatal overdoses in the past three months.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit urges caution when using all drugs. People who use drugs can reduce the risk of overdose by:
· not using alone
· not using at the same time as others to ensure someone is available to respond
· have naloxone on hand
·start with using a small amount
·understand that overdose is a medical emergency
If using drugs alone is unavoidable, anyone about to use drugs in Ontario can call the toll free Overdose Prevention Line at 1-888-853-8542.
The Overdose Prevention Line is a peer-developed initiative where you provide an operator with your name and address. The operator will stay on the line with you while you use it. If you are unable to respond to them afterwards, they will place a 911 call to dispatch emergency responders to the location you provided.
“Overdose is a medical emergency, so if someone overdoses, it is important to call 911,” says Ian Reich, Harm Reduction Manager for the Grey Bruce Health Unit. “Unfortunately, we recognize fewer people are calling 911 as a result of an overdose. We urge everyone to please call 911 if you or someone you see is potentially suffering for ANY medical emergency.”
The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act is part of the Government’s comprehensive approach to addressing the opioid crisis. It provides legal protection for people who experience or witness an overdose and call 911 or other emergency numbers for help. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act applies to anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose. The Act protects the person who seeks help, whether they stay or leave from the overdose scene before help arrives. The Act also protects anyone else who is present.
People who use drugs and their friends and family are also encouraged to access naloxone and opioid overdose training. Naloxone works to temporarily reverse an opioid overdose caused by drugs such as fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone or morphine.
Be prepared and pick up a free naloxone kit. Naloxone is available at the Grey Bruce Health Unit, no appointment necessary, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. It is also available from some local pharmacies. Find out more at www.ontario.ca/Overdose
If you want to report toxic or dangerous drugs or drug reactions, please call 211 to report the drug. 211 is trained to ask appropriate questions and will automatically advise Public Health, who will determine if a Public Notice needs to go out to alert to this toxic drug.