Opioid-related deaths up 246% in Ontario since 2003

By Faiza Amin

The opioid crisis in Canada continues to pose a problem for first responders as emergency calls and deaths continue to rise.

More than 1,250 people have died from opioid overdoses in the province in the last 15 years— an increase of 246 per cent — numbers from Public Health Ontario show.

And according to Toronto’s website, one in four opioid-related deaths in Ontario occurred in the city.

Annual opioid-related deaths in Toronto

  • 2015: 137
  • 2016: 186
  • 2017: 303
  • 2018: 59 (first three months)


Source: Public Health Ontario

Officials, including Toronto police, have issued public safety warnings, as dangerous opioids and synthetics are finding their way onto the streets and into the hands of users.

Since October 2017, there have been 3,102 suspected opioid overdoses at Toronto hospitals.

Toronto Paramedic Services, among the first to respond to calls for suspected overdoses, collaborated with Toronto Public Health to track these calls over the past year, mostly in the downtown core.

From August 2017 to August 2018, paramedics received 358 calls for suspected opioid overdoses in the Church-Yonge corridor, 337 in Moss Park, and 158 in the Bay Street corridor.

Since August 2017, paramedics attended an average of 60 non-fatal and three fatal suspected opioid overdoses per week. In total, 3,407 of these were non-fatal while 177 were fatal.

More to come

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