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Peterborough Public Health issues 2nd drug poisoning alert of January – Peterborough

Another drug poisoning alert has been issued for the Peterborough area.

Peterborough Public Health said Thursday that over the last 24 hours, 911 emergency personnel responded to five suspected drug-related poisonings.

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The health unit — which serves Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation — believes the poisonings are the result of three different blue-coloured opioid products and one white version, which are all “being mistaken” for crack cocaine.

“These products have an increased level of toxicity,” the health unit stated. “This serves as an important reminder that the street drug supply is unpredictable and harm reduction practices are essential.

“These reports have prompted Peterborough Public Health to issue a public warning in the hope of preventing further harms to the community.”

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Thursday’s drug poisoning alert is the second this month. The first was declared on Jan. 9 after seven suspected drug poisonings over a weekend.

According to the health unit’s opioid harms portal, 59 people died from suspected drug poisonings in 2022 — approximately one person every seven days. December 2022 had two deaths.

Over the 12 months, there were 539 emergency department visits to Peterborough Regional Health Centre for drug poisonings.

For 911 calls for drug poisonings, there were 357 calls for service in 2022, of which 16 were reported in December. Of the 357 calls, 63 per cent were for men, 66 per cent of them between the ages of 25 and 44.

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 and search for “opioids” or find its Accessing Naloxone pdf here.

Use the health unit’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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