Six people have died of opioid overdoses in the last two months in the region.
“This is the same number of deaths as are usually seen over an entire year,” the health unit said.
Public health believes the overdose deaths have most likely been caused by the use of fentanyl. Local emergency departments have also seen an increase of visits linked to opioid overdoses.
It’s suspected that the increase in overdoses locally are a result of a toxic supply of opioids, COVID-19-related stress and changes in the availability of health and social services during the pandemic.
“The stress, uncertainty and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to increased substance use among vulnerable populations,” the health unit said.
Public health officials say they will continue to offer harm reduction supplies, like single-use equipment and naloxone.
They are asking drug users to carry a naloxone kit on them, to call 911 in case of an overdose, to avoid mixing substances and not to use alone. They also suggest using a small test dose before using a full dose.
More Canadians are dying of overdoses during virus crisis
Drug possession charges will not be laid on a bystander or an overdose victim who calls emergency services when an overdose occurs.
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