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Public Health warns of toxic batch of drugs in KFL&A, Hastings and PEC

Naloxone kit image provided by KFL&A Public Health.

KFL&A Public Health is warning residents of a toxic batch of drugs circulating in Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington and Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. Recent reports indicate an increase in overdose-related 9-1-1 calls.

Initial reports from Hastings and Prince Edward Counties indicate that drugs may be contaminated with fentanyl that appears greenish grey or purple in colour, according to a release from KFL&A Public Health, dated Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. In other cases, contaminants may be colourless and therefore undetectable. As substances may be highly contaminated with potent opioids like fentanyl, multiple doses of naloxone may be needed to reverse an overdose, according to the release. Public Health says the possible presence of non-opioid drugs, such as etizolam, in the local drug supply means additional emergency care may be needed to reverse an overdose. Residents are encouraged to always call 9-1-1 if an overdose is suspected.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the drug supply has become more contaminated and unpredictable, increasing the risk of overdose, according to the release. KFL&A Public Health is urging all people who use drugs to not mix drugs, do test amounts, to never use alone, and to have a naloxone kit.

According to KFL&A Public Health, using drugs alone is a major risk factor for experiencing a fatal overdose and is not recommended even with the risk of COVID-19. Instead practice physical distancing when using drugs around other people, make sure someone is there who knows how to use naloxone and call 9-1-1, connect virtually with someone that can call for help, or call the Overdose Prevention Line, an anonymous, non-judgemental support line available 24/7 in Ontario to have someone on the line while you use drugs, they suggest.

The Consumption and Treatment Service at the Integrated Care Hub at 661 Montreal Street in Kingston is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and provides 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. The Rapid Access Addictions Medicine Clinic at Street Health Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. by appointment, to provide individuals with support in getting help for a substance use disorder. For more information about support options, visit KFL&A Public Health’s Getting Help page.

Public Heath encourages 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 to Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Integrated Care Hub: Open seven days per week, 23 hours per day (closed daily from 10 to 11 a.m.)
  • Napanee and Area Community Health Centre: Monday to Friday 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.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.

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 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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