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Health Unit finds an increase in overdoses in Perth

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, through the overdose early warning and surveillance system, has seen an increase in overdoses in the Perth area including 3 suspected fatalities since the beginning of May. The recent overdoses appear to be related to a toxic batch of “purple fentanyl” powder.

The stress, uncertainty and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to increased substance use amongst vulnerable populations.  The Health Unit encourages people who use substances to continue to engage with harm reduction services for single use equipment, naloxone and further access to services and referrals.

In an effort to reduce the number of overdoses in our community the Health Unit encourages the following safer use practices;

  • Carry a naloxone kit
  • Importance of calling 911 in the event of an overdose
  • Avoid mixing substances
  • Use a small test dose first
  • Do not use alone

Residents are reminded that an overdose is a medical emergency. Anyone who suspects or witnesses an overdose should call 9-1-1. 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 9-1-1.

Harm reduction supplies, including Naloxone kits, will continue to be offered throughout Leeds, Grenville and Lanark during the COVID–19 pandemic. Please visit the Health Unit website for more information. www.healthunit.org

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