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Overdoses on the rise, three suspected drug-poisoning deaths in four days: WRIDS


The Waterloo Region Integrated Drugs Strategy (WRIDS) is warning about a toxic drug supply that they say led to an increase in overdoses and suspected drug-poisoning deaths in the span of a few days.

According to a community drug alert posted on Thursday afternoon, from Feb. 11 to Feb. 14, WRIDS received reports of an increased number of overdoses and three suspected drug poisoning-related deaths.

Officials are advising the public to keep extra naloxone on hand.

“If the person slips back into a drug poisoning (overdose) state, administer another dose,” said the alert.

If someone overdoses, WRIDS says call 911, administer naloxone, and perform rescue breathing and/or chest compressions. They warn the public not to give any other substances as they say this can make drug poisoning worse.

“If no improvements, continue to give naloxone two to three minutes apart until paramedics arrive,” the alert said.

If you have to leave the person unattended, the alert suggests you put them in the recovery position.

WRIDS offers more tips on how to what to keep in mind while using substances:

  • Never use substances alone. If using with a friend, do not use at the exact same time or use the
  • National Overdose Response Service (NORS) at 1-888-688-6677.
  • Try a small amount first and use less drugs when your tolerance may be lower.
  • Avoid mixing substances – do not use other downers (e.g. benzos, alcohol, and other opioids).
  • Have naloxone ready and know how to use it.
  • Use at the Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) site at 150 Duke Street West (Open seven days a
  • week, 9am-9pm, 8:30pm last call).
  • •Anyone who is involved in a drug poisoning including the person needing help and anyone at the
  • scene is protected from simple possession charges if you call 911 by the Good Samaritan Drug
  • Overdose Act.


In 2022 there were 81 suspected overdose deaths reported to Waterloo regional police.
Michael Parkinson, a local drug strategy specialist, said the number of overdose deaths should be more than a hundred as he said WRIDS’ numbers only show those reported to police.
“The data continues to go the wrong way,” Parkinson told CTV News.
He said this week he heard about an overdose death in a local shelter and believes that people without stable housing are among those disproportionately affected by the drug poisoning crisis.
“Roughly one in six drug poisoning deaths in Ontario are among people without stable housing. That translates into about 20 people in Waterloo region last year. That’s far more than the number who died in motor vehicle collisions, for example," he said.
Parkinson called out local, provincial and federal governments and said more needs to be done to stop the drug poisoning crisis.
“There are tools in the toolbox, but they remain unused,” he said. “Getting serious about a health response that’s grounded in safe supply, for example.” Top Stories

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