In continuation from a media release sent out last week, Hasting Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) continues to be aware of ongoing overdoses in the Belleville area. In collaboration with Belleville Police, Hastings-Quinte Paramedics, and other community partners, HPEPH have recorded 18 additional overdoses this week, and three resulting in death. They believe there is a strong link to blue fentanyl, meaning there is a toxic batch circulating in our community.
All of these events have taken place in the Belleville & Quinte West area.
HPEPH are continuing to urge community agencies to ensure their clients are aware of this and to encourage clients to not use alone and have naloxone kits readily available. Using alone significantly increases chances for overdose deaths.
“If you use drugs, please be aware that we suspect toxic batches of drugs are in our region and take steps to reduce possible harms,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “Avoid mixing drugs, try a small amount first, never use alone, and have at least one naloxone kit on hand.”
Public Health also want’s to encourage clients to participate in other harm reduction safety measure such as using a small test dose first, and having clean supplies. HPEPH understands these steps may be more difficult with COVID-19 restrictions.
Community partners are asked to:
- Ensure clients have access to naloxone kits. Locations for public distribution of free naloxone kits are listed on the public warning resource, and on HPEPH website.
- Encourage clients to not use drugs alone and to call 911 immediately if someone starts to show signs of an overdose.
- Inform clients of The Overdose Prevention Line available 24/7.
- Encourage practices to avoid the spread of Covid-19: remaining 2m apart, hand washing, coughing/sneezing into ones arm and cleaning surfaces.
- Remind clients of Canada’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, in that if they seek medical help for themselves or for someone else who ha overdosed, they will not be charged for possessing drugs for their own use.
- Refer clients seeking professional help for drug and alcohol use to one of our listed addictions programs in Hastings Prince Edward County.
- Communicate any information received about opioid overdoses or contaminated drugs by using HPEPH’s online reporting form.
For information on substance use and Covid-19 for people who use drugs and for harm reduction providers please visit the Public Health website https://hpepublichealth.ca/substance-use-covid19/
Please also note The Overdose Prevention Line, that is available 7 days a week 24 hours a day at 1-888-853-8524.
To report an overdose or an unintended/negative reaction on HPEPH’s online reporting form please visit https://hpepublichealth.ca/report-an-overdose/