Hospitalizations for opioid poisoning have risen 40% in Ontario in just the last two years.

That’s just one of the startling new statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

They say there were 13 opioid-related emergency room visits per day in the province. That number does not include those who left the hospital before being admitted or died before arriving at the hospital.

The Ontario city with the most hospital visits due to opioid poisoning is Brantford.

The Brant County Health Unit says the findings aren’t surprising.

“It is a huge problem, like it is in many communities,” says Ruth Gratton. “We’re a small community and the hospital is often inundated due to the number of overdoses that are coming in through emergency. It is such a huge workload and pull on community resources.”

The Health Unit has responded to the crisis by creating needle exchange sites and giving naloxone kits to its first responders.

Canada’s chief public health officer says opioids are a major health crisis.

“Tragically, in 2016, there were more than 2,800 apparent opioid-related deaths in Canada, which is greater than the number of Canadians who died at the height of the HIV epidemic in 1995,” says Dr. Theresa Tam.

Opioids such as fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, codeine and heroin can create a feeling of euphoria and are highly addictive.