Public Health warns of rise in drug poisonings in KFL&A area

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

According to a release from Public Health, Consumption and Treatment Services in Kingston is reporting a 15 per cent increase in apparent drug poisonings over the past week, along with an increase in clients experiencing very prolonged deep sedation and hallucinations. Additional community partner data supports a concerning increase in apparent drug poisonings this week, the health agency stated.

“These observations highlight the continued unpredictability and toxicity of the unregulated drug supply in our community. It is vital that people do not use drugs alone and 911 is called immediately for emergency medical care when drug poisoning is suspected,” KFL&A Public Health said.

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.
  • Seek medical treatment.

“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 release, 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 to come to 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. For more information about this alert, please contact Justine MacIsaac, Consumption Treatment Coordinator at [email protected].

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