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Peterborough health unit warns a ‘bad batch’ of drugs is circulating in area

Peterborough Public Health issued another alert following an increase in suspected drug poisonings on the weekend.

On Saturday, the health unit received reports that a “bad batch” of drugs was circulating in the city and Peterborough County.

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Health unit issues drug overdose alert for Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland and Haliburton counties

“This is suspected to be the result of an opiate product that is purple in colour and has an increased level of toxicity,” the health unit said.

The health unit did not release data on the weekend incidents.

The reports prompted the health unit to issue a public warning to help prevent further harm to the community. The health unit serves Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

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“Peterborough Public Health is reminding the public that street drugs may be cut or mixed with toxic substances. Even small amounts of a tainted drug can be fatal,” the health unit said.

A similar “bad batch” warning was issued on Oct. 19. 

According to the latest data on the health unit’s opioid harms portal, in October there were seven suspected fatal drug poisonings in the health unit’s jurisdiction, on par with September. November data has yet to be provided.

To date in 2022, there have been 55 suspected fatal drug overdoses, according to the portal.

Also in October, there were 46 visits to PRHC’s emergency department for opioid overdoses, up from 35 in September and on par with August data.

From November 2021 to Oct. 31, 2022, there have been 568 emergency department visits for drug poisonings. Of the 568 visits, 57 per cent were made by men. Approximately 50 per cent of the visits were people between the age of 25 to 44, the portal reports.

The health unit says anyone who uses drugs, or knows someone who does, should take the following precautions:

  • don’t use drugs alone — visit the Consumption Treatment Services site at 220 Simcoe St. (open 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily)
  • test a small amount of drug before you use
  • avoid mixing drugs or sharing drugs
  • avoid using damaged or modified pipes/needles
  • if you are alone, call the National Overdose Response Service (NORS) virtual safe consumption at 1-888-668-NORS (6677), or call a friend
  • ensure that emergency services can be contacted in the event of an overdose
  • Keep a naloxone kit on hand. You can get a kit at most pharmacies and needle-exchange sites. To find out how to access naloxone visit peterboroughpublichealth.ca and search for “opioids” or find its Accessing Naloxone pdf here.

Use Peterborough Public Health’s Drug Reporting Tool to anonymously report overdose incidents and harms in the community. Under Canada’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, anyone who seeks medical help for themselves or for someone else who has overdosed, will not be charged for possessing or using drugs for personal use.

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