Toronto paramedics responded to 13 suspected opioid overdose-related deaths between May 2 and 6, one of the worst clusters of overdoses since Toronto Public Health began collecting data in 2017.
Five of these fatal calls happened on Thursday, which is the highest daily number of fatal calls on record.
This comes as some supervised consumption services, including The Works, began reporting an increase in overdoses.
Toronto’s Drug Checking Services is continuing to find an increase in unexpected substances of concern within the unregulated drug supply.
They have reported that Etonitazene, an opioid that is more potent then fentanyl and may require a greater amount of naloxone, was seen for the first time this May and is the subject of a safety alert.
In a release, Toronto Public Health said, “The tragic loss of 13 lives highlights the unpredictable nature of the unregulated drug supply.”
“We provide this data with respect and a deep appreciation for what they mean, and how they refer to our loved ones, friends, families and colleagues,” read the release. “We mourn the loss of lives to a longstanding drug poisoning crisis which has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.”