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Significant increase in suspected drug poisoning deaths

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has received increasing reports of suspected drug poisoning in the region and while local partners are continuing to investigate the situation – including the substance linked to these events -it notes increasing reports of suspected drug poisoning are often the result of new or toxic drugs being introduced to the area.

HPEPH states it is aware of approximately five deaths during the period of Sept. 19-26 which are suspected to be drug related – four times as high as the weekly median for last year. As not all drug poisonings are reported, HPEPH expects that the number of poisonings being experienced in the community is higher.

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

While HPEPH is continuing to learn more about what may be contributing to increased reports of suspected drug poisonings in our region, everyone who uses drugs is urged to take steps to reduce their risk:
Never use alone,
Avoid mixing drugs,
Try a small amount first,
Have at least one naloxone kit on hand.

Public Health states using drugs alone significantly increases the risk of a drug poisoning that leads to death. It recommends if using with someone else, do not use at exactly the same time. People who must use drugs alone, should use an overdose prevention service such as the National Overdose Prevention Services by calling 1-888-688-NORS(6677). When using this non-judgemental service, an individual will stay on the line with you while you use drugs, and if you lose consciousness, they will call for medical assistance to help you.

People struggling with drug use and would like support, can also visit HPEPH’s Getting Help page. To protect yourself and others, be aware of the signs of an opioid poisoning and pick up a free naloxone kit. Naloxone is available at many local locations, including pharmacies. For a list of locations where naloxone is available, visit

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  1. SM says:

    If I have read this article correctly, it would appear that the “normal” number of drug related deaths that occur in the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health region is at least one per week or 52 per year. It is tragic that this number of people die from drug use. It is also instructive regarding the level of criminal activity that must exist to distribute these substances. Canada treats substance abuse as a public health issue and that seems to be a reasonable approach. There should however be no sympathy for those that sell these substances no matter why they do so. It is nothing more than callous preying upon the weak. As Steppenwolf sang many years ago, “G..D…the Pusher Man”.

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