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Region of Waterloo puts out drug alert, warns of toxic supply

Public health sees spike in overdoses and suspected drug poisoning deaths in the first days of December

The Region of Waterloo is issuing a community drug alert after receiving multiple reports of a toxic drug supply. 

From Dec. 1 to 4, the region has seen an increase in the number of drug poisonings (overdose) including two suspected drug poisoning deaths.

Multiple doses of naloxone have been administered in overdose cases. 

The region wants to warn the public that there is a tainted local drug supply with the suspected substance being fentanyl.

In some cases, the drug will cause chest wall rigidity, a condition caused by intravenous use of fentanyl that severely affects and damages the respiratory system. 

Regional health officials have laid out some tips if you find someone who has overdosed. 

The first step is to call 911 and immediately administer naloxone if an opioid drug poisoning is suspected. Next, perform rescue breathing and or chest compressions to help the individual breathe. 

It is imperative that no other substances are given to them, because this can make the drug poisoning worse. If there are no improvements, continue to give naloxone 2-3 minutes apart until paramedics arrive. 

If you have to leave the person unattended, put them in the recovery position. This is where the individual is moved to their side, their knees are bent and face is to the side as well. This will help to keep their airway clear and prevent them from choking on their own vomit if they begin to throw-up.

If using substances, the region recommends never using substances alone and if using with a friend, do not use at the exact same time. Never mix substances such as opioids and alcohol and always have naloxone ready with the know how to use it.

Other options for safe consumption is at the regionally run Consumption & Treatment Services (CTS) site at 150 Duke St. W. in Kitchener. 

Call 911 if there is a drug poisoning. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act will protect those involved, including the person needing help and anyone at the scene from being charged with simple possession. 

Naloxone kits and harm reduction supplies are free and available for pickup across Waterloo Region. They can be found at any regional public health facility or a community partner location. 

Addiction, mental health, and crisis services are available to call anytime for support at 1-844-437-3247.

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Joe McGinty

About the Author: Joe McGinty

Joe McGinty is a multimedia journalist who covers local news in the Cambridge area. He is a graduate of Conestoga College and began his career as a freelance journalist at CambridgeToday before joining full time.
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