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Toxic drug supply in area, warns Grey Bruce Health Unit

'It is not only affecting the larger towns and cities, but virtually every small community, hamlet and village within our region,' cautions Grey Bruce Health Unit
20200114 naloxone ts
Naloxone nasal spray. File photo


The Grey Bruce Health Unit and Owen Sound Police would like to alert the public that fatal overdoses continue to affect our community.

There have been multiple fatal overdoses in the past five days. It is not only affecting the larger towns and cities, but virtually every small community, hamlet and village within our region.

There is concern that there is a highly toxic and deadly drug supply at present.

“We have strong reason to believe that there are fatal additions to the street drug supply, more than likely Fentanyl or Carfentanil," says Craig Matheson, detective sergeant, Owen Sound Police Service. "We are calling on everyone in the public to be aware, and if you are using street drugs, to follow the directions from Public Health. Please call 911, we will respond to save you, not arrest you – the Good Samaritan Act will keep you safe from arrest for possession.”

People that use drugs are at significant risk of overdose due to the local street drug supply potentially containing the highly toxic drug Fentanyl and Carfentanil. People must assume that any and all drugs purchased on the street contain Fentanyl or Carfentanil (100 X more toxic than fentanyl).

“In response to this significant increase in fatal overdoses, the Grey Bruce Health Unit is going to lead an Emergency Response team using our internal Incident Management System, with participation from our external partners, says Ian Reich, public health manager with Grey Bruce Health Unit. "We will be calling on external partners to take part in emergency meetings to address this local Public Health crisis. We are mobilizing staff to distribute lifesaving Naloxone medication during the weekend, as well as offering as many resources to help those struggling with any substance us challenges in their life. We also want to ensure that people who are using drugs are aware of the toxicity of the street drug supply.”

We are aware that many neighbouring jurisdictions have reported Fentanyl in the cocaine supply as well, leading to fatal overdoses. We urge people that use drugs to do so as safe as possible by following some Harm Reduction strategies:

  • Avoiding using alone.
  • When using with someone else, avoid using at the same time.
  • Call the OVERDOSE PREVENTION LINE at 1-888-853-8542 if you must use alone
  • Avoiding mixing different drugs.
  • Mixing drugs, including alcohol, increases the risk of overdose.
  • Going slow - Use smaller amounts and do test doses to check the strength of the drug.
  • Knowing your tolerance.
  • If using after a period of not using – use less.
  • Getting overdose prevention training and carrying a Naloxone kit.
  • Overdose is a medical emergency. Call 911 or go to the Emergency Department.

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides protection from simple possession charges when 911 is called for an overdose.

The Overdose prevention line is a vital phone service for people that are using drugs alone. It is a service that allows users to call so that they can be safe while using alone. An operator will stay on the line with the user while the drug is used. In the event that the user becomes unresponsive, the Prevention Line operator will call 911 to make sure that help arrives.

If you know of a toxic drug, please report it by calling 211. The operator will fill out a form and it will then go to Public Health to action and alert the community.

Naloxone and safe drug use equipment is available at the Health Unit Monday through Friday from 8: 30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and through our participating sites. Call the Health Unit for details, or call 211.

In addition to services available within the community, there are multiple services available within Grey and Bruce. For additional Addiction Services:

  • ConnexOntario 1-866-531-2600
  • Withdrawal Management/RAAM Clinic (Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic) 519-376-5666
  • G&B House 519-376-9495
  • Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre 519-371-0007
  • CMHA Grey Bruce Mental Health and Addiction Services 519-371-3642
  • Mental Health Crisis Line Grey Bruce 1-877-470-5200
  • Overdose Prevention Line: 1-888-853-8542
  • If unsure – call 211


Grey Bruce Public Health jurisdiction includes The Blue Mountains. Collingwood residents can contact the Simcoe Muskoka District Public Health Unit for support by phone oat 1-877-721-7520 or visit the website here.