Public Health warns of rise in drug-involved poisonings in KFL&A

Kingstonist file photo.

KFL&A Public Health has issued an alert warning residents about a recent rise in drug-involved poisonings within the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) region.

According to a press release from Public Health, Consumption and Treatment Services in Kingston is reporting a 30 per cent increase in apparent drug poisonings since Saturday, Apr. 27, 2024 — just three days before the release was issued. Similar observations are being noted by other community partners who provide programs and services to people who use drugs, the health agency stated.

“While local data about the composition of the unregulated drug supply is not available, other Ontario jurisdictions continue to report the presence of a variety of high-potency opioids as well as tranquilizers in the unregulated supply. These observations highlight the continued unpredictability and toxicity of the unregulated drug supply in our communities,” Public Health stated.

“It is vital that people do not use drugs alone and 911 is called immediately for emergency medical care when drug poisoning is suspected. Naloxone should be given any time drug poisoning is suspected. While naloxone will not reverse the effects of other kinds of drugs or contaminants, it will help reverse the effects of any opioids present.”

In addition to informing key partners including the public, promoting access to naloxone kits and other harm reduction measures, and continuing to work on preventing drug-related harms, KFL&A Public Health is urging people to:

  • Avoid using alone. If you use alone, tell someone before you use and have a safety plan that includes having someone check in with you. Alternatives may include:
    • Using with a friend or family member present or virtually, staggering use if both are using drugs.
    • Using a supervised consumption service in person at Consumption and Treatment Services at 661 Montreal St. in Kingston or virtually by calling the National Overdose Response Service at 1-888-688-NORS (6677).
  • Avoid using more than one drug at a time, including alcohol.
  • Go slow. The quality of unregulated drugs is unpredictable.
  • Get a free naloxone kit and training. Always carry it with you. Consider carrying multiple doses of naloxone.
  • Call 911 for emergency medical treatment immediately if drug poisoning is suspected.

“If you have a friend or family member who uses drugs, share the above safety information with them and get a free naloxone kit and training,” Public Health urged.

According to the KFL&A Public Health, Consumption Treatment Services (CTS) is a safe, supportive space where people may engage in the supervised consumption of their substances. This supervision reportedly reduces the likelihood of harmful outcomes like fatal overdoses and is an extension of existing harm reduction programs that provide easy-to-access, life-saving harm reduction services in a stigma-free environment, to help reduce the growing number of opioid-related overdose deaths.

The CTS provides:

  • Supervised injection,
  • Harm reduction supplies, including disposal of used supplies,
  • Naloxone, and
  • Connection with community support workers.

Public Health shared that Kingston’s CTS is located within the Integrated Care Hub (located at 661 Montreal Street in Kingston). Anyone is welcome at the CTS, which is open seven days a week, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The CTS is a drop-in service and does not require an appointment or a referral to access the site.

For more information on harm reduction, visit the KFL&A Public Health website.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!