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opioid crisis 560Hub Staff

According to the Grey Bruce Health Unit one person dies every 12 hours in Ontario from an opioid overdose, and from 2010 to 2014 there were nine deaths in Grey Bruce related to acute fentanyl toxicity. The Heath Unit says that Opioid use is on the rise in Grey Bruce and is calling for councillors in communities across the region to take action.

Data presented to Saugeen Shores councillors during the October 10 Committee of Whole stated that in 2016, 40 opioid related hospitalizations occurred across Grey Bruce, with 1,905 cases across Ontario, and the hospitalizations were said to have affected all ages and sexes.

“Our focus today was to talk to council, that a problem does exists here and council has a role to play and know what’s happening,” said Sarah Ellis, Chief Nursing Officer and Program Manager Grey Bruce Health Unit. Ellis stated that some time during the month of October the Health Unit will be visiting Saugeen Shores police officers to educate, by-pass stigma through harm reduction, and provide them with resources such as Naloxone, sometimes referred to as an “opioid antagonist”. Naloxone, if given to someone under the effect of opioids, can reverse an overdose, and only affects people who have taken opioids.

Chair of the Saugeen Shores Police Service Board, Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau said opioid abuse in Grey Bruce and the Saugeen Shores community is frustrating and sad. “Communities everywhere have this problem and it’s something that our police officers are dealing with every single day, sometimes multiple times a day,” said the Board Chair. “Right now [the board and police services are] working on a policy...to outfit our front-line officers with Naloxone so that they can protect themselves and so that the opportunity exists for them to protect others or help save other people’s lives if the opportunity arises.”

Other things that have been put in place to battle the use of opioids in Grey Bruce include new guidelines for doctors and pharmacists to prescribe lower doses of opioids and suggesting alternative therapies.

Dave Roy of HopeGreyBruce said the stigma surrounding the crisis needs to change. ”We know that folks who develop addiction problems, generally...it’s as a result of trauma or other social determinative health issues,” he said. “We see it very clearly as being a health concern so we should be responded to in kind,” he continued.

HopeGreyBruce is a non-profit, charitable mental health and addictions organization. For more information visit hopegb.org.

grey bruce health hope grey bruceSarah Ellis, Chief Nursing Officer and Program Manager Grey Bruce Health Unit, and Dave Roy of Hope Grey Bruce present data regarding the Grey Bruce opioid crisis to councillors during the October 10 Committee of Whole.

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