Oxford County: Double doses of Naloxone failed to revive two in bootleg fentanyl overdoses

Five overdoses in the last half of June likely were caused by a bad batch of heroin, possibly laced with particularly potent bootleg fentanyl.

“Our clients are scared,” explained Oxford County public health nurse Lisa Gillespie. “From everything I have heard, bootleg fentanyl has arrived in Oxford or there is a very bad batch of heroin going around.”

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate narcotic prescribed primarily for patients with cancer or severe pain.

Heroin, cocaine, oxycodone and other street drugs can be cut with powdered fentanyl with potentially fatal consequences.

Gillespie said the months of April to June were busy for the health unit, with five overdoses in the last two weeks of their second quarter.

Because the overdoses involved a particularly potent opioid, all five people required double doses of intranasal naloxone, an antidote to opioid overdose.

“From what people report it is rare that two doses are needed,” Gillespie said. “In the past, often one dose was enough to reduce the overdose.”

But even the double doses didn’t work in two of the overdose cases, and those two people had to be taken to hospital.

“People are reluctant to call 911 due to fear of arrest,” Gillespie said. “Because they needed to do it in two cases, it tells me that the drugs the people consumed was very potent.”

Figures on Oxford County opioid overdose deaths in the second half of 2016 and early 2017 aren’t available yet. But seven were recorded in 2013, six in 2014, four in 2015 and another four deaths in the first half of 2016.

More user-friendly intranasal naloxone kits recently replaced the injectable variety.

People at risk of overdoses, their friends and families can get intranasal kits free from Oxford County public health, while injectable kits are available at selected pharmacies.

Woodstock police Deputy Chief Darren Sweazey said it would be naïve to think that powdered fentanyl, likely made overseas and used to cut other street drugs like heroin, has not hit the city.

“Has it become an issue here? Probably not like other centres,” he said. “But could it? Would it? Certainly it could.”

While fentanyl patches have been used for years, powdered fentanyl has made the situation much worse, he said.

“I certainly applaud the efforts of the pharmacies who carry the naloxone kits,” he said.

Gillespie points to a new law, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, which took effect May 4 and protects anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose from charges of simple possession of a controlled substance or related charges concerning a pre-trial release, probation order, conditional sentences or parole violation.

“We want people to feel safe to call 911,” Gillespie said. “Naloxone is a short-term fix, especially with the arrival of bootleg fentanyl. The two doses in a kit may not be enough to reduce overdose and person needs to be assessed at the hospital. It’s a life and death situation.”

But the new act doesn’t offer legal protection to 911 callers facing more serious charges, such as producing or trafficking controlled substances, or outstanding warrants.

Calling it a complex issue, Gillespie said what is needed to help addicts is to reduce stigma surrounding their problems, “so people can reach out for help.”

“We need to treat people with compassion and stop judging people for what we believe is a moral failing and treat it as a medical issue,” she said.

And she feels new efforts to combat addiction, like Ontario’s first opioid strategy, means the government is paying more attention to the issue.

“It’s finally getting the attention it deserves,” she said. “Hopefully there will be real change.”


--- --- ---

Opioid facts

In 2014, more than 700 people died in Ontario from opioid-related causes, a 266 per cent increase since 2002.

Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more toxic than morphine.

Street fentanyl is either pharma-diverted or imported from overseas

Fentanyl can’t be seen, smelled or tasted, making it difficult to detect.

Even a very small amount can cause an overdose, especially when users don’t know their drugs contain fentanyl.

Read other news of London here.

fentanyloverdoses doubledoses Naloxone
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Comments are designed to communicate and discuss the features of an enterprise or event, as well as to find out the interesting questions on it.

Local Democracy Reporter - Bexley, Bromley & Greenwich A community group has pledged to fight council proposals that would “squeeze monster towers” into Bromley town centre. Bromley Council is consulting with residents on its Town Centre Masterplan, which sets out the vision for more than 1,200 homes, shops and community spaces. The council is asking for feedback on ideas for the heart of itsmasterplan site, which extendsalong the west side of the High Str...
A group of fundraisers who organise projects to enhance their community hosted students from around the world in an exchange programme. In July, The Rotary Club of Northwick Park played host to the London Youth Exchange Camp 2018. Students from several countries including Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey were accommodated. A spokesperson for the club said the students were in the U...
Police have revealed the movements of a car driven by a suspected terrorist who mowed down pedestrians and cyclists outside Parliament. Three people were injured when a silver Ford Fiesta veered across a busy road shortly after 7.30am on Tuesday before crashing into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament  - writes standard.co.uk Scotland Yard has revealed the vehicle, which has the registration number FL10 CWZ and is privately owned, was driven...
A young Kitchener diver who hoped to compete in the Olympics died Sunday at private music festival near Port Burwell. Colton James (C.J.) Moore, 24, died near the end of the Playground 2018 festival held at Otter River Farms, a private property off McQuiggan Line in the Municipality of Bayham with camping and cabins. Moore died in an apparent drowning, festival organizers said in Facebook post. Moore was a bio medical engineering student at the University...
London police are once again appealing to the pubic for help identifying a suspect in an armed robbery at an east-end convenience store a month ago. Police say a man walked into a mini-mart at 750 Lorne Ave., near English Street, July 15 and demanded money and items from the cashier. The man left the store and got in the passenger side of a dark coloured pickup truck. He made off with an undisclosed amount of cash and property, police said. Police say the...
Weather Grey clouds will dominate today as temperatures keep to the low twenties. The sun may peak through the overcast skies later on. Traffic On the M25, one lane is closed due to emergency repairs clockwise between J26 A121 Honey Lane (Waltham Abbey) and J27 M11 J6. Lane four is closed after a vehicle went through the central reservation barrier on Saturday evening. Anticlockwise is running with four narrow lanes whilst repairs continue. North of Wood G...
A 48-year-old man is dead and a London man is in custody after a suspected hit-and-run in west-end Toronto late Monday. Police were called to the scene — near Lake Shore Boulevard West and Islington Avenue— for reports of a personal injury collision at 11 p.m. They say officers found the 48-year-old man with life-threatening injuries at the scene, adding he had an undisclosed altercation with the suspect. The 48-year-old man later died in hospital. Police...
The father of a three-year-old girl attacked by a fox in her bed has told how she was left petrified by her ordeal. Heidi Cooper screamed when she woke to find the fox biting her arm after it had sneaked in through an open back door at the south-east London home - writes standard.co.uk Her parents were watching TV in the sitting room with their four-month-old baby when they heard her screams of panic. Father George Cooper, 37, a taxi driver, raced to her r...
Some time next year London city hall will publish its 10-year parks and recreation master plan — and one of the possible projects discussed will be a downtown stadium. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen in 10 years, or ever for that matter. What it does mean if the item appears in the long-term master plan for the city is that the pros and cons of a stadium will be discussed - writes lfpress.com But the fact that a small stadium of not-yet-determi...