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KFL&A Public Health reports increase in drug-involved overdoses

Naloxone kits, which are used to help interrupt opioid overdoses, are available free of charge in many places in Kingston. Photo by Dr. James Heilman.

KFL&A Public Health is warning residents of a toxic batch of drugs circulating in the KFL&A area.

Increases in overdoses have been noted in emergency departments, 9-1-1 calls for overdoses, and local harm reduction programs, Public Health said in a release dated Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2020. Initial reports indicate that in some cases, the substance consumed was cocaine. Fentanyl toxicity is suspected.

According to the release, KFL&A Public Health is urging all people who use drugs to not mix drugs, do test amounts, and to never use alone. Using drugs alone is a major risk factor for experiencing a fatal overdose. Practice physical distancing when consuming drugs around other people or connect virtually with someone that could call for help if needed. For more information about support options, visit Public Health’s Getting Help page.

The Consumption and Treatment Services site is now located at the Integrated Care Drop-In Hub at Artillery Park, 382 Bagot Street, and is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. This is a safe and supportive place where anyone who wants to consume drugs can do so under supervision of people who are trained to respond to an overdose, read the release. The Rapid Access Addictions Medicine Clinic at Street Health Centre, 115 Barrack Street, is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment to provide individuals with support related to substance use.

Public Health is encouraging all residents to be aware of the signs of an opioid overdose and pick up a free naloxone kit. Free kits are available at the following locations:

  • KFL&A Public Health (Kingston office): Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Street Health Centre: Monday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.
  • HIV/AIDS Regional Services: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Mobile Outreach: Street Health Centre on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Artillery Park Drop-In Hub: Open seven days per week, 23 hours per day (closed daily from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.)
  • St. Vincent de Paul Society of Kingston: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Martha’s Table: Monday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Home Base Housing Street Outreach Team: Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Change Health Care: Monday to Friday 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Napanee and Area Community Health Centre: Monday to Friday 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For more locations, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/where-get-free-naloxone-kit

Residents are reminded that an overdose is a medical emergency. Anyone who suspects or witnesses an overdose should immediately call 9-1-1. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides some legal protection against simple drug possession charges for anyone who experiences, witnesses or responds to an overdose and calls 9-1-1. 

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