Warning issued after 15 fatal drug overdoses over last month in Toronto

Toronto Public Health (TPH) is warning of an increase in drug-related deaths, with 15 fatal overdoses reported over the last four weeks.

“Over the past four weeks, there has been an increase in the number of fatal suspected opioid overdose calls attended by Toronto Paramedics Services,” TPH said in a release.

“There have been three different occurrences where there were at least five fatal calls within a four-day period.”

Testing of street drugs has revealed higher concentrations of fentanyl than usual in drugs circulating in the downtown core, TPH added.

“They also found an increase in benzodiazepine-related drugs and an increase in carfentanil in fentanyl samples,” the release adds.

“Fentanyl continues to show up in the local drug supply in a variety of colours with unpredictable potency and contamination.”

TPH said the overdoses are taking place in neighbourhoods across the city and offer the following suggestions for people using drugs:

● Try not to use alone. Buddy up with someone who you trust. Have a drug use safety plan and keep naloxone on-hand.
● Use a supervised consumption service, if possible. For locations and hours of sites please visit: toronto.ca/ConsumptionServices.
● If you must use alone, have a safety plan.
-Get someone to check on you either by phone or in person.
-Consider calling the National Overdose Response Service at 1-888-688-NORS (6677) to get support while using alone.
-Connect to community members virtually via the Brave app.
● Vet your supply. Ask others about what they are experiencing with the same drug or batch.
● Check what’s in your drugs at local drug checking services. Your drugs might have unexpected substances in them. Have them checked at one of the drug checking service locations in Toronto.
● Get naloxone. Kits are available at Toronto Public Health, The Works, and through many partner organizations. Free naloxone kits are also available at some pharmacies. Visit www.ontario.ca/page/getnaloxone-kits-free or call 1-800-565-8603.

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