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Dozen overdoses reported at supervised injection site The Works

Last Updated Feb 27, 2020 at 4:25 pm EDT

A man has been arrested on drug-related charges after several people overdosed at the supervised injection site in downtown Toronto.

Paramedics were called to The Works at Victoria and Dundas streets to treat at least 16 people between the hours of 3:50 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Wednesday.

Toronto police say 12 people were taken to hospital in a variety of conditions. Public Health had previously said there were 14 overdose cases with at least 11 requiring a dose of naloxone.

There have been no fatalities.

Extra staff was brought into The Works to remain open until 11 p.m. and there was an increased paramedic presence in front of the building.

Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said they believed it was related to a tainted drug supply.

Toronto Police Supt. Steve Watts says despite being administered naloxone, none of the individuals recovered similar to the way one would from a fentanyl overdose, leading them to believe the substance ingested was a mixture of fentanyl and an undetermined substance.

Public Health obtained a sample of the drug and have sent it to the lab at St. Michael’s Hospital for further testing. Health Canada will also be conducting an analysis of the substance.

Watts says due to the apparent ineffectiveness of naloxone last night, they could be dealing with mixture of drugs that uses benzodiazepines as an inhibitor to the naloxone.

Whanny Mymuller, 38, of Toronto is facing three charges including two drug trafficking charges. He was arrested in close proximity to The Works within two hours of police arriving.

Supt. Watts believes the suspect arrested was hanging around the supervised injection site in order to sell the product to people using the facility, a common occurrence.

Dr. De Villa said the events that unfolded Wednesday “clearly demonstrate the need for supervised consumption services in our community and the life-saving benefit they provide.”

City Councillor Joe Cressy added in a tweet, “In the face of a toxic drug supply, these sites continue to save lives.”