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19 suspected opioid poisonings, including two deaths, in Brantford-Brant

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There were 19 suspected opioid poisonings, as wells as two deaths, in Brantford-Brant between June 1 and June 10.

The Brant County Health Unit issued a community alert on Monday, explaining that “this is a higher number of suspected drug poisonings than what is typical for a period of this length.”

The substance responsible for the overdoses has not yet been identified.

"We know that in Ontario, most overdoses are caused by the unpredictable potency of the unregulated opioid supply, and/or the contamination of the opioid supply by non-opioid sedtives such as benzodiazepines, xylazine and medetomidine," the health unit explained in an email to CTV News.

According to statistics shared on their website from the Chief Coroner for Ontario, the number of opioid-related deaths in Brant is more than double the provincial average. Ontario’s current rate, as of April 2024, is 1.97 per 100,000 people. Brant, meanwhile, currently sits at 4.34 per 100,000 people.

There has also been an increase in fatalities over the last few months. The Brant County dashboard shows two opioid-related deaths in February, four in March and seven in April.

The health unit shared the following advice for drug users:

  • Please use caution when using any type of drug that is not prescribed to you
  • If you think someone is suffering from a drug overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately
  • Give the person naloxone, even if they weren’t intending to use opioids
  • Naloxone it can wear off before the person has completely recovered so always call 911
  • Don’t use alone – get someone to check on use or call the National Overdose Response Service (NORS) at 1-888-688-NORS (6677)
  • Go slow if using a new or unknown substance
  • Buy from a trusted seller
  • Test your drugs – Xylazine test strips can be found at SOAR Community Services, AIDS Network Van and Grand River Community Health Centre

Anyone who calls 911 in an emergency will be immune from simple possession charges under the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act.

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