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Public health seeing increase in suspected drug poisoning deaths

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) has received notification of five deaths in the region last week, suspected to be drug related.

As not all drug poisonings are reported, HPEPH states it expects the number of poisonings being experienced in the community is higher.

At this time, HPEPH does not have information on the substances involved in these fatalities. Drugs that contain opioids are suspected to be involved in at least two of the deaths. It notes increasing reports of suspected drug poisoning are often the result of new or toxic drugs being introduced to the area.

HPEPH receives information about drug poisonings from several community partners, as well as local residents.

“Using drugs alone poses a significant risk of drug poisoning that can lead to death. There are resources available from public health and other organizations to provide compassionate, non-judgemental help,” says Stephanie McFaul, Clinical Services Program Manager.

People who use drugs are urged to take steps to reduce their risk. They are advised to never use alone, avoid mixing drugs, try a small amount first, and to have at least one naloxone kit on hand.

People who must use drugs alone, can also use an overdose prevention service such as the National Overdose Response Service by calling 1-888-688-NORS(6677). An individual will stay on the line while the caller uses drugs, and if they lose consciousness, will call for medical assistance.


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