Toronto lays out opioid plan after emergency meeting on spike in deaths
Toronto is speeding up the opening of three supervised injection sites and asking local police to consider having some officers carry the opioid overdose antidote naloxone as it responds to a spike in suspected opioid-related deaths in the city.
The measures were among several laid out Thursday after the city’s mayor held an emergency meeting with first responders, public health officials and some city councillors.
“These are unimaginable tragedies and, make no mistake, an overdose death is a preventable death,’’ Mayor John Tory said in a statement. “Today, I asked our first responders to ensure we are doing everything as fast as fast as possible to implement Toronto’s overdose action plan.’’
Many Canadian cities have grappled with drug overdose deaths in recent months.
The most notable is likely Vancouver, which has recorded 25 deaths and nearly 600 overdose calls in June alone. The opioid crisis claimed 935 lives in the British Columbia last year.
In Toronto, the issue has been thrust under the spotlight recently after the overdose deaths of four people between Thursday and Sunday last week. Two young women also died in an apartment in the city’s west end Tuesday in what paramedics called suspected overdoses.
While the cause of the incidents was not confirmed in most cases, police said they believed fentanyl may have played a role. The potent drug can be fatal, even in trace amounts that may have been laced into other drugs.