Toronto lays out opi­oid plan af­ter emer­gency meet­ing on spike in deaths

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

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.

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