In light of recent events this week in Ottawa, the Ottawa Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force (Task Force) is issuing an alert to warn residents about an increase in suspected overdose-related deaths and injury in Ottawa. Based on preliminary testing, it is suspected that cocaine cut with fentanyl may have been a contributing factor. Ongoing investigations and toxicology laboratory testing are being conducted to confirm the source of these overdoses.
Individuals who choose to use drugs are reminded to:
- Never use alone – If you overdose when you are alone there will be no one there to help you. If you are using with someone else, don’t use at the same time.
- Don’t mix drugs – Mixing with other drugs puts you at a higher risk of overdose;
- Go slow – The quality of street drugs is unpredictable. Anything can be cut with Fentanyl or Carfentanil;
- Know your tolerance – Your risk of overdose increases if you are a new user or haven’t used in more than three days
- If you choose to use – Consider visiting one of the four Supervised Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) locations in Ottawa.
If you have a friend or family member who chooses to use drugs, you are encouraged to:
- Know the signs of an overdose and call 911 – an overdose is always a medical emergency;
- Carry naloxone it is a medication that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose;
- Call 911 immediately if you witness an overdose – Give naloxone, perform rescue breathing and/or chest compressions, and stay with them.
The Task Force would also like to remind residents about the signs of an opioid overdose which includes:
- Breathing will be slow or absent
- Lips and nails are blue
- Person is not moving
- Person may be choking
- Person will make gurgling or snoring sounds
- Person can’t be woken up
- Skin feels cold and clammy
- Pupils are tiny (also known as pinpoint)
For more information and to learn more about harm reduction services and treatment services, please visit StopOverdoseOttawa.ca
Members of the Ottawa Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force include Ottawa Public Health, Ottawa Paramedic Services, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Fire Services, OC Transpo, The Ottawa Hospital, The Royal Ottawa Hospital, Montfort Hospital, Queensway Carleton Hospital, The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Rideauwood Addictions and Family Services, The Office of the Regional Coroner, Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres, Respect Pharmacy, Champlain Local Health Integration Network, Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre, Ottawa Carleton Pharmacist Association, Direction de santé publique, Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais.
For more information, please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca or call 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656).
We will continue to provide timely information as it becomes available.
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