Screenshot from Lambton Public Health via YouTube. Screenshot from Lambton Public Health via YouTube.

Overdoses spike prompts alert from Lambton Public Health

Lambton Public Health is warning of a recent spike in opioid-related overdoses.

Lambton Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karalyn Dueck told Lambton County Council during its meeting Wednesday, that at the end of May and beginning of June, the local rolling average of overdose calls was higher than in previous months.

She said an alert was issued to area first responders, emergency departments and naloxone distributors.

"After the weekend (June 1-2) we received anecdotal reports about overdoses and continued to look at our rolling average and issued another alert to those individuals that we had reached out to before," said Dueck. "Also, we notified the ministry at the provincial level who keeps track of all of the alerts across the province."

Dr. Dueck said it's a similar trend right across Ontario.

"We do not suspect any new drugs, apart from those that are already known to be in the toxic drug supply," she said. "Fentanyl is a key one, xylazine and other tranquilizers, and benzodiazepines that are being used not as intended and are toxic."

In five years, the local number of opioid-related deaths has more than doubled.

Preliminary data released in Lambton Public Health's latest opioid bulletin reported 38 opioid-related deaths in Sarnia-Lambton last year, that's up from 13 reported in 2018.

Lambton EMS responded to 14 opioid overdose-related calls in April, bringing the year to date total to 84.

That's up from 70 related calls in the first four months of 2023.

We're reminded that free naloxone kits are available at Lambton Public Health and at area pharmacies.

Drug users are also reminded the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects you from simple possession charges, in the event you have to report an overdose or call 911.

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