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Overdose-related deaths surge in Guelph

The city has seen 8 overdose-related deaths from mid-March to the end of May
20180310 community health centre ts
Guelph Community Health Centre. photo

The number of overdose-related deaths has increased since the pandemic started, with the number of overdoses remaining relatively consistent.

"Since that March 17 date until May 30, our community has born witness to eight deaths, that is more fatalities then by overdose then we saw in the entire year of 2019," said Raechelle Devereaux, Executive Director, Guelph Community Health Centre. 

While the safe injection site has been open during the pandemic, only people who are accessing a service are allowed in to maintain the health and safety of staff and visitors. 

Devereaux told the Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS that there are a number of potential factors to the increase in overdose-related deaths. 

"We've seen people shifting their drugs of choice and we have also seen the toxicity in the fentanyl increase and we think both of those situations are really impacted by those disruptions in the supply chain."

She added that self-isolation has been strongly promoted as a way to stop the spread of COVID-19, but in turn, it has pushed many drug addicts to use alone, in an uncontrolled setting. 

"In an overdose crisis, we tell people to never use alone, always be with peers or friends, in fact, reach out for help, leave your home, come and get supports, come to the community health centre, use our consumption and treatment services."

Devereaux said they working towards having a safe supply program in Guelph, which would allow them to provide the drugs and administer them - ensuring the safety of the user. 


Cali Doran

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