99 suspected overdose deaths reported in Waterloo Region last year
There were 99 suspected overdose deaths in Waterloo Region in 2021, according to the Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy (WRIDS).
WRIDS updated its 2021 data on Jan. 10.
In 2020, there were a record 106 overdose deaths in the area.
Waterloo Region's Overdose Monitoring Report shows 1,504 overdose-related calls in 2021, including 138 in the month of December.
In 2020, the region reported 1,243 overdose-related calls.
Confirming a cause of death can take up to a year, meaning the total from 2021 could increase.
"Some of them just don't get caught by ourselves or police as a possible opioid death," said Rob Crossan, deputy chief of Region of Waterloo Paramedics.
Michael Parkinson with the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council said the numbers are only related to opioid use.
On Sunday morning, Waterloo regional police tweeted a warning after responding to four overdose calls in just one night. Officials suspect those overdoses were caused by fentanyl.
They're reminding people to carry naloxone.
Michael Parkinson with the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council said consumption and treatment services sites aren't enough, adding that safe supply is needed to help end the crisis.
"What we have watched is a preventable disaster unfolding before our eyes and, unfortunately, no real end in sight in 2022," he said.
With reporting by CTV Kitchener's Krista Sharpe