Street Drugs Remain Highly Toxic
On Monday June 14th, 2021, the Grey Bruce Health Unit sent an Opioid Alert to system partners as per the Opioid Response Plan. The alert indicated that four Opioid Overdoses (non-fatal) were identified that day. On June 17th, a follow up alert was sent to system partners indicating that four more non-fatal overdoses have occurred. These overdoses were reported through our Report a Dangerous Drug online submission tool. These reports were confirmed through system partners.
This alert is in addition to an ongoing trend of multiple overdoses within Grey and Bruce this year and last. Anecdotally, there have been at least 10 fatal overdoses to date in 2021, pending Coroner confirmation.
Descriptions of the suspected substances indicate a substance that is purple in color, however, previous reports indicated substances of differing colors, grey, blue, yellow, pink, purple. Current reports also indicate the potential presence of other substances mixed in the street supply. This is assumed due to the symptoms presented during the overdose. These other substances must also be deemed highly toxic.
All street drugs, regardless of color, or what they are being sold as, should be deemed highly toxic, and potentially FATAL
We urge people that use drugs to do so as safe as possible by following some Harm Reduction strategies:
- Avoiding using alone.
- When using with someone else, avoid using at the same time.
- Call the OVERDOSE PREVENTION LINE at 1-888-688-6677 (NORS) if you must use alone
- Avoiding mixing different drugs.
- Mixing drugs, including alcohol, increases the risk of overdose.
- Going slow.
- Use smaller amounts and do test doses to check the strength of the drug.
- Knowing your tolerance.
- If using after a period of not using – use less.
- Getting overdose prevention training and carrying a Naloxone kit.
- Overdose is a medical emergency. Call 911 or go to the Emergency Department.
- The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides protection from simple possession charges when 911 is called for an overdose.
The Overdose prevention line is a vital phone service for people that are using drugs alone. It is a service that allows users to call so that they can be safe while using alone. An operator will stay on the line with the user while the drug is used. In the event that the user becomes unresponsive, the Prevention Line operator will call 911 to make sure that help arrives.
If you know of a toxic drug, please report it by calling 211, using the report a drug system. The operator will fill out a form and it will then go to Public Health to action and alert the community. You can also fill out the form directly on the Grey Bruce Health Unit Website at the Report a Drug and/or Overdose Page.
Naloxone and safe drug use equipment is available at the Health Unit M-F 830am-4pm, and through our participating sites. Call the Health Unit for details, or call 211.
For additional Addiction Services:
- 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
- If unsure – call 211
For More Information:
Ian Reich, RN, BScN, EMBA
Public Health Manager
Population Health, Sexual Health, Harm Reduction
Grey Bruce Health Unit
101 17th Street East, Owen Sound, N4K 0A5
519-376-9420 ext. 1414