BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF –
In a July 28 Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) report presented to Grey County Council, concern was expressed for a recent rise in opioid use and overdose deaths in Ontario.
According to the report, Opioid overdoses claim the lives of hundreds of Ontarians of all ages, and from all walks of life, at an alarming rate. In Ontario, it is estimated that one person dies every 12 hours from an opioid overdose. The current opioid crisis is impacting individuals, families and whole communities.
The GBHU intends to step up their efforts to reduce the harms associated with opioid use and misuse, tackling the issue with increased monitoring, education and awareness and improved policy, enforcement, treatment and harm reduction strategies.
From information gathered from the Grey Bruce Health Services website, opioids, like morphine and oxycodone, are powerful narcotics that are often prescribed as painkillers. Opioids work by relaxing the central nervous system, making us less aware of pain. If the nervous system gets too relaxed, it can stop performing essential functions like breathing.
Recently, Ontario's overdose spike has been exacerbated by the introduction of fentanyl, an extremely potent opioid with a rapid onset and short duration of action. More frequently, fentanyl is showing up as an additive to illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroine.
The most effective opioid-overdose antidote is naloxone which reverses the effects brought on by opioids. The GBHU intends to increase distribution of the antidote in kits available to community based organizations throughout the region.
When presented with the GBHU report in the August 10 Grey County Council meeting, Town of Blue Mountains Deputy Mayor Gail Ardiel also expressed concern over the legalization of marijuana targeted by the federal government for July 2018. She warned of possible cost increases for municipalities in the areas of health, security and law enforcement and indicated that the Town of Blue Mountains was currently collecting more information on the matter.
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