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Opioid Situation Update – January 2018

Ontario Opioid Situation

On December 7, 2017 Dr. Dirk Huyer, Chief Coroner for Ontario, announced a 68% increase in Ontario opioid-related deaths for May–June 2017 compared to the same period in 2016 (336 vs. 201 opioid-related deaths).

Among Ontario opioid related deaths, there is an increase in fentanyl and hydromorphone being present at the time of death.

In Ontario, from July–September 2017, there was a 29% increase emergency department visits related to opioid overdoses, compared to the prior three months.

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Opioid Situation

From January–August 2017 there were 42 emergency department visits related to opioid overdoses in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark. This represents an 11% increase from the same time period in 2016 (38 ED visits in 2016).

From June–August 2017 there were 19 emergency department visits related to opioid overdoses in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, compared to 16 in the three months prior (March–May), and 7 from January–February.

  • This underestimates the true number of opioid overdoses as some people are reluctant to call 911 or go to the Emergency Department. Some self-mediate with naloxone to reverse the overdose.

Community Response

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Harm Reduction Steering Committee is leading the four pillar response to the opioid situation – prevention, harm reduction treatment and enforcement.

An Opioid Overdose Cluster Response plan has been developed and shared with hospitals and municipalities, EMS-Paramedics, police and fire departments.

The Public Health “Revive” Program provides naloxone kits to reverse an opioid overdose

  • 100 clients trained and given kits, 87 family and friends trained
  • 42 refills provided for kits that were used in an overdose situation

The Public Health Unit also provides “Smart Gear” to reduce the risk of infection from sharing needles, etc.

  • 238,000 needles distributed in 2017 so far
  • 42,000 cookers, 74,100 waters, 51,000 alcohol swabs, 62,500 filters, 6,200 condoms
  • 22,000 brass screens, 8,940 glass stems, 477 mouth pieces

New Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Initiatives

In August 2018, the Public Health Unit received additional funding to expand the naloxone distribution program to other community organization serving individuals at high risk for opioid use.

In January 2018, the Public Health Unit will be able to provide naloxone to fire fighters and municipal police depts. and support them with a policy for response to an opioid overdose and training.

Change Health Care (methadone and suboxone treatment) has developed a collaborative referral process for people coming to the Carleton Place Emergency Department with an opioid overdose.

The South East LHIN has established an Opioid Task Force to implement the South East LHIN Opioid Strategy. The Public Health Unit participates on this Task force along with Leeds, Grenville, Lanark Mental Health and Addiction, Change Health Care, physicians, Community Health Centres, and representatives from hospitals.

The South East LHIN Funding will provide new of provincial funding ($200,000 per year) to the Lanark, Leeds, Grenville region for addictions counselling/case management and clinical counselling resources to serve the needs of individuals with opioid addictions. The Lanark, Leeds Grenville Addictions and Mental Health will be the lead agency. Services are to be provided to individuals on site (at least initially) where opioid agonist therapy is delivered.