Lambton Public Health warn first responders about rising opioid overdoses

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Emergency responders have been given two alerts in the last week after a number of overdoses in Lambton.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley raised the issue during Wednesday’s county council meeting, saying “there’s been a number of overdoses in the community in the last week or two, and we’ve been told there are a number of very bad drugs out there. They’re going through the community.”

Bradley asked for an actual number, but Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karalyn Dueck did not provide a number. Dudeck did say there had been more overdoses in May than previous months.

Lambton Public Health issued an alert about the overdoses May 31, she told Lambton County councillors. It reminded first responders to carry and use naloxone, which can counter the effects of the opioids, she said.

“After the weekend, we received anecdotal reports about overdoses … and issued another alert,” Dudeck said. They also notified the province, which keeps track of all alerts across the province.

Dudeck says first responders across the province are facing the same issues as Lambton. “We do not suspect any new drugs, apart from those that are already known to be in the toxic drug supply, that being fentanyl, a key one, xylazine and other tranquilizers and benzodiazepines that are using being used not as intended, and are toxic,” she said.

Last summer, public health issued a public warning after 10 suspected opioid overdoses. Bradley asked if that had been considered.

“In this circumstance, a public alert or media release was determined not to be the best course of action due to the fact that we did not have knowledge about a specific new drug, and we know already that there are toxic substances in the unregulated supply,” she said.

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